Friday, November 17, 2006

Dayton, OH, and their foster youth advisory board

Did you know that Chaffee funds require states to have a youth advisory board?
Neither did Franklin County Children Services (in Columbus, Ohio).

Montgomery County Children Services (in Dayton, Ohio) not only has a youth advisory board, but they have actually listened to their suggestions and brought about positive change.

Initiatives of Dayton's foster youth advisory board include:
1.) A holiday ball for foster youth/alumni. The youth advisory board chooses colors, food and theme. Participants choose a Winter Ball king and queen. This is great because foster youth aren't always able to attend Homecoming or prom.

2.) Sibling outings four times per year: The youth advisory board plans the outings. The most recent one took place at Fear Fest. This is fabulous, because often foster youth rarely get the chance to see their siblings, and if they do, it tends to be in a sterile environment.

3.) Teen Welcome Wagon: When teens enter foster care, members of the youth advisory board come over to meet with them and give them a copy of the teen handbook, along with a $5 McDonalds gift card, and offer their support.

4.) Youth advisory board members train foster parents how to deal with teens.

Supportive services provided by Montgomery Children Services include:- Arranging gown/suit donation for the annual Holiday Ball.
- Hiring a DJ and photographer, so that participants of the Holiday Ball leave with photos.

*Education
Montgomery County Children Services provides a high school program on campus, whereby teenager can earn their high school diploma or GED by participating in a digital program. A laundry and kitchen is provided nearby, for convenience.

*TransportationDoris Edelmann has received funding from PCSAO to buy 10 used cars for emancipated foster youth. Along with it will be provided: 6 months worth of insurance, a gas card and a safety kit. There will be an application process, requiring recipients to have completed driver's ed.

*Empowerment
Montgomery County foster youth advisory board members are sent to either the NILA conference or the PATHWAY conference (or both). Before they go, teens are given $100 gift card for Value City to buy professional clothing.

When Doris takes members of the youth advisory board to conferences, she arranges it so that they arrive two days early, in order to get acclimated and explore the area. They're also given an allowance to spend.

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