FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ohio’s Statewide Voice of Foster Youth Receives National Recognition
The Overcoming Hurdles in Ohio Youth Advisory Board is a statewide organization of young people (aged 14-24) who have experienced foster care. Established in 2006, the OHIO YAB exists to be the knowledgeable statewide voice that influences policies and practices that impact youth who have or will experience out-of-home care. OHIO YAB members shared their “lived experience” in foster care, in order to improve outcomes for the next generation.
The OHIO YAB is incredibly honored to have been nominated by Senator Rob Portman as an Angels in Adoption® 2018 Honoree. The Angels in Adoption® Program is the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s signature public awareness program to honor the work of adoption and foster care advocates. This program has existed for 20 years. Over 100 Members of Congress participate, making it the year’s single most significant Congressional event pertaining to child welfare in the United States.
OHIO YAB Treasurer Roman Sandhu will travel to DC in late September to represent the Board and accept a celebratory pin from the United States Senate on the Board's behalf. He will be accompanied by two fellow foster youth advocates Kyajah Rodriguez and Sydney Dykes. The trip includes an Advocacy Fair, a tour of the U.S. Capitol Building, a Legislative Seminar led by Congress, a Hill Day facilitated by CCAI, and an Angels in Adoption Reception and Gala.
During their time in DC, the three young leaders will also organize their own series of legislative visits to encourage federal policymakers to provide housing opportunities for former foster youth between ages 18-25 throughout the nation. For the past six years, OHIO YAB members have fundraised locally and traveled to DC on an annual basis, to ensure youth voice in public policy. Ohio foster care youth have made federal recommendations, helped write federal policy, met with HUD headquarters, and worked on a national level to end the Foster Care to Homeless Pipeline.
The voices of Ohio foster care youth have led to statewide extension of foster care supports until age 21, the re-establishment of a local pool of independent living funds, and the overthrowing of a proposed ‘Neighborhood Notification Act’ that would have treated foster youth as if they were criminals. The OHIO YAB continues to frequent the Ohio Statehouse on a regular basis; to advocate for sibling connections, to empower Ohio police as mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect, and to share the need for a statewide Foster Care Ombudsman.
To learn more about the OHIO Youth Advisory Board, please visit their website at www.fosteractionohio.org
Alumni of Care Together Improving Outcomes Now