Thursday, August 4, 2016

Franklin County YAB

Foster care youth and alumni recently gained insight on the legislative process during the Three Days on the Hill event in Washington D.C. FCCS was represented by 19-year-old Akire Thomas, president of the agency’s Youth Advisory Council and Regina Douglas, director of FCCS’s Therapeutic Arts Program. “The trip was designed to provide attendees an opportunity to learn how to improve the lives of current and future foster youth by advocating on the state and federal level,” said Douglas.

After participating in training about lobbying with national experts from the Annie E. Casey Family Program, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare, the youth used their new skills and personal insights concerning the foster care experience to develop arguments for positive change. Then they met with state and federal legislators from Ohio and shared their concerns—the chief concern being homelessness among youth after aging out of foster care. Participants also attended a briefing on the Voices of Youth Count on Capitol Hill, which is a youth-led survey of homeless youth taking place in 22 counties across the country.

Being able to participate in the legal process as authorities on the foster care experience was an enriching experience for the youth who attended Three Days on the Hill. Former FCCS youth and current Starfish Alliance Vice President Jamole Callahan attended and felt the event was very educational. “The participants learned how policies and laws come into being, as well as how to effectively advocate for those who are voiceless,” he said. Akire felt empowered by the experience. “I’m inspired to advocate more for youth, especially teenagers who need support. I can also be patient about the process of making changes, since I now understand it better,” she said.

Learn more about the Franklin County Youth Advisory Board.

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