The Ohio Family Care Association hosts an annual statewide conference for resource parents, including foster, adoptive, kinship, respite and even some biological parents.
The Ohio chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America had the honor of facilitating the resource panel for foster parents. Panelists included three foster care youth, two foster care alumni and three organizational representatives from Ohio Reach, Capital Law School's Foster Youth Advocacy Clinic and the Ohio Benefit Bank.
The focus was on resources to support teens in foster care before and during their transition into young adulthood.
Youth and alumni did a wonderful job during the OFCA conference:
They presented themselves in a professional manner
They were positive in the delivery of their message
They were well-prepared, and the time they took to prepare led to their message being effective
The ally presenters from Ohio Reach, Capital Law School and the Ohio Benefit Bank were knowledgeable and informative, and the resources they shared were relevant to the presentation, and well-received by the audience.
Foster parents were very receptive, and post-panel conversations were productive. Several foster parents expressed interest in taking youth in their care (ages 15+) to upcoming teen conferences.
On May 29, 2014, the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth held the third annual "Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Day." Nearly 70 current and former foster youth from across the country gathered on Capitol Hill to shadow Members of Congress and advocate for changes to the child welfare system.
Ohio's very own Violet Ramunni, of the Summit County YAB in Ohio, was chosen to participate in Congressional Youth Shadow Day. She shadowed Congresswoman Marcia Fudge.
On April 8th, Alexis Cook traveled to Washington, D.C. with FosterClub.
During her time in DC, she met with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). Alexis attended his weekly coffee with constituents where she discussed the importance of providing services for young people in foster care once they turn 18 and “age out” of the system.
Alexis is currently involved in the Youth and Alumni Advisory Committee on Ending Homelessness. This group is made up of current and former foster youth ages 14-26 who serve to represent the voices of Youth and Alumni in Lighthouse Youth Services’ 16 month planning process to end youth homelessness in Cincinnati.
During the Kick Off of the Hamilton County youth council, Alexis was the first to arrive. She manned the registration desk and welcomed each young person as they arrived. Because Alexis had already received training in FCAA Ohio Purposeful Sharing back in 2010, she was able to answer questions from other youth about how to determine what was appropriate to share.
Two days after the Kick-off of the Youth and Alumni Advisory Committee on Ending Homelessness, Alexis helped present foster care youth and alumni recommendations and insights to the larger Steering Group for this initiative. She was interviewed by Clyde Grey of WCPO news about the need for additional transitional housing options for young people.