Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Lamar GrahamTestimony on HB 86 ~ Foster Youth Notification Provisions
Sub. HB 86: Criminal Sentencing and Juvenile Justice Reform
Foster Youth Community Notification Provisions
Representatives Lou Blessing and Tracy Heard, Sponsors
Chairman Grendell, Vice-Chairman Obhof, Ranking Member Turner, and members of the Senate Judiciary-Criminal Justice Committee, thank you for the opportunity to offer testimony on HB 86.
Mr. Chairman my name is Lamar Graham and I’m an alumnus of Franklin County Children Services and Montgomery County Children Services. I spent 8 years of my life as ward of the court. First let me say that I am very appreciative for the opportunity to present before you today.
I am here to express concerns regarding a provision that has been added to House Bill 86, that would require notification when a foster child moves into the neighborhood.
I come to you today as a concerned ex-foster child, who knows all too well what it feels like not to have self-esteem. I entered foster care because I was abused and neglected by my mother – the person whom I loved the most.
Now, just imagine, not only being alienated from your mother, but also society. Imagine having the people around you, including your teachers and the local police force, look at you with the preconception that you were going to cause problems. That is too big a burden that no one should carry.
My desire is to give back to my community to allow other foster youth to know that they can overcome any obstacle that may come their way. I only hope now that you meet me half way. For what is worth, today I am a proud college graduate. I currently have an Associate’s Degree as well as a Bachelor’s of Science. My occupation is a teacher and college advisor.
My desire is to give back to my community to allow other foster youth to know that they can overcome any obstacle that may come their way. I only hope now that you are willing to meet me half way.
I hope that you can find compassion in your heart to overturn HB 86 not only for the foster youth who would be ostracized, but also for the community at large. Each one of us are a valuable part of the community and, if you allow HB 86 to pass, then you not only hurt directly the foster youth, but you also hurt yourself indirectly, by not allowing our contributions to society.
I urge you to remove provisions slipped into HB 86 that would require notification when a foster child moves into the neighborhood. Most foster children just want to find a place to call home.
Thank you for your time. I would be happy to answer any questions.