Sunday, January 3, 2021

2020 efforts to improve statewide policy and practices by Ohio foster care youth and alumni

The Overcoming Hurdles in Ohio Youth Advisory Board (OHIO YAB) is a statewide organization of young people (aged 14-24) who have experienced foster care. 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.


Alumni of Care Together Improving Outcomes Now Ohio is dedicated to improving outcomes for current and former foster care youth. We seek first to listen to, support, and follow up on the insights expressed by today’s foster care youth and young adults, related to barriers that negatively impact their immediate/long-term outcomes.


In 2020, we communicated regularly with Governor DeWine’s Office and his staff, and presented in-person and virtual testimony to the Children’s Services Transformation Advisory Council. Our recommendations were also captured in our Letter to the Editor of the Columbus Dispatch. We participated in Governor DeWine’s press conference to announce the Council’s final report and recommendations.


We have the utmost respect for Governor DeWine. He responded to our first and second letters proposing protections for foster youth by issuing and extending a temporary moratorium on aging out of foster care and Bridges. Foster youth throughout Ohio participated in creating a photo message of thanks.


On the date of the House Bill 8 signing, we sent a third letter to Governor DeWine to recommend that the next step forward after reducing foster parent training hours is to Make Every Training Count through specialized training tracks — especially for foster parents caring for teens. This request is directly related to our Don’t Forget to Foster Our Future Campaign.


As we continue to focus on improving outcomes after foster care, we deeply value our ongoing communication with Chancellor Randy Gardner and his staff members at the Ohio Department of Higher Education. We also continue to monitor access to Medicaid for former foster youth, and how things are moving forward now that the Mandated Reporter Bill has become state law.