Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ohio Advocacy Efforts throughout HB 1 Budget Process

The official version of HB 1 was released earlier this week, and the Independent Living Allocation was preserved:

Of the foregoing appropriation item 600523, Children and Families
Services, up to $1,500,000 in each fiscal year shall be used to provide
independent living services to foster youth and former foster youth

between 16 and 21 years of age. Page 2900

Ohio foster care youth, alumni and allies should be proud.

Youth and alumni who experienced foster care firsthand were HEARD by the Ohio House of Representatives. We were HEARD by the Ohio Senate. We were HEARD by the conference committee.

We fought for an earmark to be amended into the bill from the very beginning. We successfully fought to maintain this funding, despite many rounds of funding cuts.

Without our efforts, this money would not have been inserted into the bill for transition age youth.

It's time to celebrate and give thanks!

1.) We are thankful to our legislators for hearing our testimony, reading our letters and maintaining this important funding allocation.

2.) We thank Mark Mecum of OACCA, Doris Edelmann of Montgomery County Children Services, Bryan Brown of Starr Commonwealth, Anita Wainwright of Mahoning County Children Services, Susan Ignelzi, and Brandi Scales, adult supporter of the OHIO YAB.

3.) We thank Nick Bates and Angela Lareviere, for taking the leadership role in facilitating Ready to Launch Day, for proudly wearing Ready to Launch stickers and for empowering YEP youth to speak out on behalf of young people throughout Ohio.

4.) We thank YEP youth, VISION Board youth, Mahoning County youth, Franklin County youth, OHIO YAB youth and FCAA Ohio alumni for sharing their voices and a strategic piece of their stories.

There truly is a foster care movement going on in Ohio...

Next Steps:
a.) Sending thank you letters to legislators, including personalizing letters to legislators who asked us thoughtful questions during our testimony and legislative office visits.

b.) Planning a shared celebration that includes foster care youth, alumni and allies from all over Ohio who were a part of this advocacy effort - including YEP youth and supporters.

c.) Meeting with Representative Sykes, in order to further reform the way that Independent Living is funded in Ohio in the future.

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