Tuesday, August 21, 2007

How statewide YAB goals fit into a national perspective

Created on May 2006 and revised in July 2006, the O.H.I.O. (Overcoming Hurdles in Ohio) youth advisory board have come up with a list of recommendations regarding the child welfare system.

I have summarized these goals, linking each item to additional articles and/or resources in order to fit their goals within a larger perspective.

1.) Having their voice heard in court: Young people want to be able to speak to the judge personally about their case. They want to be present when a move is being considered or custodial decisions are being made.

They desire meaningful interaction with the CASA or guardian ad-litem who is representing them in court. After all, any adult would want to meet with his / her lawyer before a trial.

2.) Agencies need to provide more opportunities to gain hands-on, real life experience, such as paying bills, managing a checking account, obtaining housing, and accessing public transportation, so that young people will be prepared to transition out of foster care.

3.) Normalcy:

- Foster parents need the authority to make certain decisions for foster youth, such as whether or not the youth can spend the night at a friend’s house, whether they can leave the county, if they can date, etc.

- Foster youth need to complete driver’s education prior to their release, or prior to aging out of foster care.

4.) Keep siblings together whenever possible. Maintain strong, regular contact between siblings and other kin when placed apart.

5.) Continuity of care with therapist: Maintaining the same therapist, regardless of placement, builds trust and gives youth time to work through emotional issues. Caseworkers and foster parents should also receive more training in the emotional challenges faced by foster youth.

6.) Young people in the foster care system desire opportunitities to share their insights regarding placements, including reunification.

Foster youth want to be able to contact their caseworker directly. Meetings regarding the possiblity of reunification should include youth, biological parents, foster parents and caseworker.

7.) Foster youth want the homes in which they are placed to be safe.

They recommend that foster parents participate in training, meet strict qualifications and be evaluated on an ongoing basis. They also recommend that foster parents be observed actually interacting with youth before being granted a license.

Additional Resources
Gilpatrick, Breanne. Foster kids call for the right to drive: Legal hurdles could derail a proposal intended to make it easier for foster children to obtain their driver's licenses. Miami Herald.

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Hey Lisa - Just dropping you a little note to tell ya I am officially a foster mama to a beautiful 15 month old girl!

Oh, Rachel, that is so wonderful,

i have two kids in care - high needs- who i am trying to prepare for the big wide world. i am going for my learners this month, to get a car so they can look forward to doing the same one day (and to run around after them even more than i do now ;-)
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