Youth advocates are breathing a sigh of relief after Ohio's governor announced the state will cover the costs of those aging out of the foster care system.
Governor DeWine thanked OHIO Youth Advisory Board for coming up with this plan.
On April 25, 2020, 10TV news interviewed Talia Holmes, president of the FCCS Youth Advisory Board. She knows firsthand what it's like to be in foster care.
"You're always having to worry about making sure you're presenting yourself in the best way, so the person you're with wants to keep you," Holmes said. "[You want to make sure] you're not put into another situation that may not be as good as the one you may be leaving from."
Holmes said this is a step to ensure Ohio's most vulnerable are set up for success. "It's providing them that extra leverage to be able to make steps securely so that they are able to be successful in society," she said.
Quotes from Governor DeWine's Press Conference on April 24, 2020:
Gov. Mike DeWine announced the state will continue to cover the costs for youth in foster care who are turning 18 during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to DeWine, more than 200 people will “age out” of Ohio’s foster care system in the next three months.
“For many of these young people, their future looks uncertain because of COVID-19, whether their plan was to start a career or pursue higher education. This program will provide them with a safety net during these difficult times,” DeWine said.
This option is also available for those in the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ Bridges program, which is foster care to age 21. DeWine said those in Bridges can stay in the program to help them maintain their housing, jobs, and education.
“These changes will ensure that no child leaves care during this pandemic without a safe place to call home. I encourage county children services agencies, juvenile courts, and the foster youth themselves to take advantage of this new opportunity,” he said.
During his daily briefing, DeWine thanked Ohio’s Youth Advisory Board for coming up with this plan.
Message to Ohio Public Children Services Directors on April 24, 2020:
Here is some additional information regarding the announcement you heard from Governor DeWine today at the press conference regarding children aging out of foster care and Bridges.
Foster Care: To ensure adequate transition planning and delivery of needed services to foster children, increased flexibility has been instituted within the Multi-System Youth allocation. These funds can now be used to support the cost of extended placement and supports for any youth aging out from any placement setting through June 30, 2020. These funds can be used to pay for supports that were expended as of the March 22, 2020 Stay at Home order.
Bridges: In addition, please note that Bridges funding has also been extended to support young adults who turned or will turn 21 through June 30, 2020. Again, these funds can be used to pay for supports that were expended as of the March 22, 2020 Stay at Home order.
1.) Expedite the timeline for establishing a statewide Foster Youth Ombudsman’s Office.
2.) Extend Chafee supports to age 23, as authorized by the federal Family First Act.
3.) Suspend emancipation proceedings for all youth facing release from foster care for six months, allow re entry for foster youth younger than 21, and allow youth who reach the age of 21 in extended foster care (Bridges) to remain in care through October 30, 2020.
The OHIO Youth Advisory Board is grateful for Chancellor Randy Gardner of the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
He and his staff have reached out to Ohio colleges and universities to remind them about vulnerable populations on their campuses for whom the dorm might be their only home (including former foster youth).
He personally took the time yesterday to circle back with key decision makers on campus to encourage them that their messaging about dorms shutting down should also include supportive messaging for young people for whom their dorm on campus is their only home.
So far, the list of Ohio colleges are closing their dorms includes:
- Antioch College
- Cedarville University
- Central State University
- Denison University
- Hiram College
- Hocking College
- Kenyon College
- Lake Erie College
- Marietta College
- Muskingum University
- Oberlin College
- The Ohio State University
- Ohio University
- Ohio Wesleyan University
- Ursuline College
- Xavier University
- Wilmington College
- Youngstown State University