Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Hello OHIO YAB and respective Adult Supporters!

The time is nearing for the next statewide meeting. Please mark your calendars for JANUARY 15, 2008 from 11:00am - 3:00pm. The meeting will be held at the same location as previous meetings: The ODJFS Air Center, 4020 E. Fifth Street, Columbus, OH. Parking is free at this location.

Lunch will be provided free for youth, however we do ask that adult supporters contribute $5 for the lunch.

Youth, we will be holding elections for the positions of President, Vice President, Secretary, Media Spokesperson and Treasurer. If you are planning to run, please come prepared with a 3-5 minute prepared statement and be prepared to answer questions. Remember that you can run for more than one seat.

We hope to see you there!

Arlene Jones
Foster Youth Advisor
Public Children Services Association of Ohio 510 E. Mound St., Suite 200 Columbus, Ohio 43215
phone: 614.224.5802
fax: 614.228.5150

2009 OHIO YAB Meeting Schedule

Thursday, January 15, 2009 from 11:00am - 3:00pm

Thursday, April 16, 2009 from 11:00am - 3:00pm

Thursday, July 16, 2009 from 11:00am - 3:00pm

Thursday, October 15, 2009 from 11:00am - 3:00pm

To be held at the ODJFS Air Center located at 4020 E. Fifth Street in Columbus, Ohio.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Welcoming Brandi as adult supporter of the Ohio YAB

Staffing Changes Regarding the OHIO YAB:

Brandi Scales will be joining Arlene Jones as adult supporter of the Overcoming Hurdles in Ohio Youth Advisory Board. She brings a wealth of experience to this position, including her law degree, undergraduate degree in Political Science, and experience lobbying state legislators in Washington, D.C.

Brandi used to work in the Ohio Statehouse for Senator Ray Miller. She aspires to be a judge one day, specializing in family law and adoptions, in order to provide permanency for young people in foster care. As a social worker, Brandi has experience working with youth, and she is very excited about supporting and equipping statewide youth advisory board members

Kelly Knight will continue be involved with the O.H.I.O. YAB, although her role will change to focusing on special projects, such as working with youth to create the statewide foster care youth rights handbook.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Upcoming Conferences in 2008 and 2009

On Dec. 15, 2008, YEP will host their 2nd annual statewide Youth Housing Summit.

National conferences coming to Ohio in 2009:

April 23 – American Adoption Congress 30th annual conference in Cleveland, Ohio
Aug 12-15 – NACAC 35th annual conference in Columbus, Ohio
Nov 19 – American Association of Children’s Residential Centers in Cleveland, Ohio

Other national events to look forward to in 2009:
NILA Growing Pains conference
Casey It's My Life conference

Statewide events to look forward to in 2009:
Ohio’s 3rd annual statewide Independent Living Summit, hosted by OACCA
Ohio's 3rd annual Youth Housing Summit, hosted by YEP

Recent Ohio events involving and supporting youth

Ohio recently hosted five statewide events focusing on the needs and concerns of young people aging out of foster care.

1.) Spotlight on Homeless Youth: YEP hosted a statewide retreat for homeless youth on August 10, 2008. Because half of the youth in attendance have a history of foster care, Lisa Dickson was invited to lead a breakout session focusing on resources and opportunities.

2.) Success Is A Choice: Franklin County Children Services and PCSAO sponsored a statewide foster care youth rally on August 19, 2008, led by foster care alumni and motivational speaker Cedric Riley. 150 youth attended this event (pictured above), representing Athens, Hamilton, Franklin and Cuyahoga counties.

3.) PCSAO Conference: The Youth Track included representatives from the following organizations:

- FosterClub
- National Campaign to Prevent Youth and Unwed Pregnancy
- Foster Care Alumni of America

During this conference, the Ohio YAB was awarded Child Advocate of the Year!

4.) IL Summit: Ohio's second annual statewide Independent Living Summit was led by OACCA and supported by youth advocacy organizations throughout the state.

- Youth were able to share their insights with Ohio legislators and agency directors.
- The morning plenary session was led by the Institute of Human Services.
- YEP shared how to advocate for the needs of homeless youth and unite youth to create social change
- Information about valuable resources was provided, including Job Corps, WIA, ETV funds and Dress for Success.

Working Together: Next year, partnering agencies throughout the state of Ohio plan to work together to combine the PCSAO Youth Track with the OACCA IL Summit and create one fabulous two-day event!

5.) CASA conference: Three OHIO YAB members participated in the youth panel of the 14th annual Ohio CASA conference. Participants indicated that hearing from youth was one of the highlights of this event, and strongly recommended that young people return to share their voices and insights next year.

Ohio represented at National Independent Living Conference

During the 2008 NILA Conference:

1.) The Dayton V.I.S.I.O.N. Board hosted and led pre-conference activities:

2.) Lisa Dickson of Foster Care Alumni of America gave a keynote address, after which O.H.I.O. YAB President Adrian McLemore and members of the VISION Board shared “My Vision” T-shirts. Youth assisted Lisa with her youth and adult workshops as well!

3.) The second keynote of the conference was led by Michael Sanders:

Monday, August 18, 2008

OHIO YAB Youth Track: Registration Deadline August 29th, 2008

OHIO YAB will be hosting their 2nd Annual one day Youth Track at the PCSAO Conference on Thursday September 18th, 2008. This is a great opportunity for youth to be able to attend an in-state conference with national presnters. Workshops include Foster Care 411 (FosterClub), What’s Love Got to Do With It (National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancies), and Making a Difference for our Brothers and Sisters from Care (Foster Care Alumni of America). Registration is limited to 45 youth between the ages of 14 and 23 who are currently in foster care or have experienced foster care.

The registration fee is only $50 and child welfare professionals who are attending the PCSAO Conference the same day can assist with transportation! For more information about this exciting opportunity please check out the website (pages 12 &13).

Don’t let this exciting possibility pass you by—the registration deadline is August 29th, 2008.
Another thing to consider is that youth, who are members of OHIO YAB, can apply for the OHIO YAB Youth Leadership Program to have either 50% or 100% of their registration fees covered.

Feel free to pass along this great opportunity to others who may be interested.

If you have any questions feel free to email me at kelly@pcsao.org

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Learning a New Skill

As part of OHIO YAB's ongoing efforts to improve both communication and collaboration I met with Lisa Dickson, Foster Care Alumni of America, this past Friday to be introduced to the "blogging world."

The idea of an OHIO YAB blog was suggested by Lisa at the last OHIO YAB Statewide Meeting as a tool that both youth and adult supporters could use to keep updated regarding OHIO YAB events, opportunties and news. Lisa quickly create a OHIO YAB blog to allow us at PCSAO to become more familiar with what she was talking about. It was exciting to see all the possiblities that a blog could provide for OHIO YAB.

However I was a bit intidimated by the aspect of maintaing a blog for OHIO YAB so Lisa kindly agreed to take time out of her busy day to show me the world of blogging. Lisa came prepared, as always, with a quick cheat sheet on how to best maintain the blog. She provided me with a couple quick lessons and I think a new wonderful OHIO YAB endeavor has been born. Lisa also agreed to share with OHIO YAB the great pics she has been taking over the past couple years of OHIO YAB members, taught me a thing of two about Goggle alerts and introduced me to a Wiki.

Lisa also shared some of the projects she has been involved with during the past couple of months and the conferences she plans on partcipating and presenting at in the future. Lisa's energy and drive is impressive and OHIO YAB is thankful to have her a partner.

So I hope that this blog becomes a way for us all to connect regarding not only OHIO YAB but other foster youth related news and events across of Ohio. If you have something you would like to see posted or shared on here just send me an email at kelly@pcsao.org.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

" A message from the President"

"Good Day Everyone,

I am very pleased with the direction that our great board is moving towards. This is a new era of foster care reform in the state of Ohio. It is also a new era of youth leadership and empowerment. I urge each and every youth to take personal reflection on how the system has change your life, good, bad, or indifferent. Now; what can you do to make sure that experience is repeated or never happens again. We are a special population of young people charged with great tasks to change the system for the better. And the change starts with ourselves; we are no longer foster youth! We are youth who have experienced foster care. We are people who have matured through the events that have transformed our lives and allowed us to prosper and become that much more determined. We must continue to strive for a better system, better standards, and better care! The OHIO youth advisory board was formed to tackle such a task, and we need you on board to help accomplish these and many others we set out to undertake! Welcome to the OHIO Youth Advisory Board!"

Adrian M. McLemore, State President
(2006 - Present)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Upcoming Events and Opportunities

Share your voice and insights to make a positive difference...

Aug. 14-17, 2008
Destination Future
Chevy Chase, Maryland
This youth leadership conference is designed to increase the level of civic engagement and leadership skills of young people in and from foster care.

Sept. 4-6, 2008
NILA conference
Orlando, Florida
This conference is dedicated to the needs of young people preparing to age out of foster care.

Sept. 17-19, 2008
PCSAO Conference
Columbus, Ohio
The Youth Track of the PCSAO conference will take place on Thursday, Sept. 18th.

Oct. 3 - 4, 2008
Independent Living Summit
Columbus, Ohio
Ohio's second annual statewide summit on Independent Living... youth registration is free!

Oct. 4, 2008
CASA conference
Columbus, Ohio
Working towards better court systems and communication with CASA/GALs.

Oct. 31 - Nov. 2, 2008
It's My Life conference
Hollywood, California
The It's My Life conference will take place in Hollywood this year!

If you are interested in being a part of these events, please contact Kelly and Arlene!

OHIO YAB Youth Leadership Program

Program Purpose
The OHIO YAB Youth Leadership Scholarship Program aims to provide exemplary leadership and empowerment opportunities for youth who have or will experience out of home care. This is accomplished through the funding of partial or full scholarships that allow current and former foster youth to attend and participate in local and national conferences, or other leadership programs as related to the OHIO YAB mission. By providing these opportunities for current and former foster youth OHIO YAB is investing in their future by allowing them to further their employable skills.

Scholarship Application Guidelines
1. Youth must be between the ages of fourteen and twenty-three.
2. Youth must either currently be under the custody of a Public Child Serving Agency or have been under the custody of a Public Child Serving Agency within the last 5 years.
3. Youth must formally be signed up as an OHIO YAB member (see Youth Membership Sign Up Form).
4. Youth must complete a Youth Leadership Scholarship Application form and submit it at least 60 days prior for a local event and 90 days prior for a national event.
5. Scholarships will cover the cost of the selected conference and major travel expenses (transportation and lodging). Youth currently under the custody of a Public Child Serving Agency will be awarded a 50% scholarship with youth not currently under the custody of a Public Child Welfare Agency will receive a 100% scholarship.
6. PCSAO reserves the right to make final decisions, with input from the applicant, in regards to flight and hotel arrangements.
7. All applications will be reviewed by OHIO YAB Officers on a first-come basis for each calendar year. OHIO YAB reserves the right to approve/deny applications to ensure that all opportunities are congruent with the OHIO YAB mission, and within available funds. PCSAO reserves the right to re-evaluate the application prior to final funding approval
8. Each RECIPIENT of the scholarship award agrees to share information or insight gained through their learning experience with other OHIO YAB members in the form of a short written summary, newsletter article, or a brief synopsis at an OHIO YAB meeting.

Making a Contribution
Funding for this scholarship comes from private donations and specified state contributions. PCSAO, OHIO YAB’s partner organization, maintains and tracks these dedicated funds, but does not claim any administrative costs for the service it provides for this scholarship fund. All donations to the scholarship fund are tax deductible. Please make checks out to PCSAO (memo: OHIO YAB Youth Leadership Scholarship), and send them to PCSAO, 510 E. Mound Street, Suite 200, Columbus, Ohio 43215.

OHIO YAB Youth Stipend Program

Program Purpose
The purpose of the OHIO YAB Youth Stipend Program is to provide youth with empowerment opportunities in which they can further their leadership skills while sharing their experiences and recommendations regarding the child welfare system. Funding for the stipend program has been allocated through the ODJFS WIA grant.

Program Stipulations
OHIO YAB stipends are awarded to OHIO YAB members, who participate in approved OHIO YAB events, assist in providing services or participate at events in which OHIO YAB has been requested to attend. Members will be notified in advance as to which activities and events have a stipend associated with them and will be provided equal opportunity to participate in such events. OHIO YAB meetings, unless otherwise noted, are not part of the OHIO YAB Stipend Program. Youth will receive notification of stipend-related events at either OHIO YAB meetings or OHIO YAB emails.

Participant Eligibility
Youth must be between the ages of fourteen and twenty-three. Youth must either currently be under the custody of a Public Child Serving Agency or have been under the custody of a Public Child Serving Agency within the last 5 years. Youth must formally be signed up as an OHIO YAB member (see Youth Membership Sign Up Form). Youth must be able to have or secure reliable transportation. Youth are recommended to regularly attend OHIO YAB meetings to receive prompt information regarding stipend opportunities as well as maintain an active email account as notification of events will also be sent out via email.

Program Description
Youth will be reimbursed $45 dollars for a half-day event (less than 4 hours) and reimbursed $75 for a full day event (more than 4 hours). Youth who transport themselves to events will be reimbursed for mileage to and from the event. Stipends will be provided in the form of VISA gift cards. Stipends, unless otherwise noted, will be provided the same day as the event or activity.

2008-2009 Strategic Plan

1. Promote awareness of foster youth issues to the rest of the child welfare field

Goal: Training foster parents & child welfare staff to adequately provide assistance to youth who have experienced foster care.

- Prepare OHIO YAB members to present to foster parents and child welfare staff
-Develop a statewide training program with youth

Goal: Educate the public regarding OHIO YAB and foster youth issues
-Attend Statewide and National Conferences to make others aware of OHIO YAB
-Presentations across the state to child welfare professionals, foster parents, and other foster youth.

2. Policy & Practice Input from a Youth Perspective

Goal: Development of Youth Handbook
-Identify the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved including foster youth, foster parents, biological parents and caseworkers

Goal: Youth Involvement in the development of best practices
-Connect with ODJFS and PCSAs in the state of Ohio to provide input regarding child welfares issues and policies
-Stay current regarding Ohio child welfare legislation and provide testimony and input whenever possible.
-Promote awareness of the mandatory CASA/GAL program in the state of Ohio
-Connect with statewide CASA organization
-Educate foster youth and child welfare professionals regarding the CASA/GAL program.

3. Development of a strong OHIO YAB

Goal: Visible, forward looking knowledgeable OHIO YAB board across the state
-Obtainment and development OHIO YAB marketing tools
-Professional development of OHIO YAB members

Goal: To unify the counties at a state level
-Recruit youth to be part of OHIO YAB
-Develop regional YAB activities

Goal: Build partnerships and collaborations with other statewide child serving agencies (such as FCAA, OHILA, OACCA, I.H.S., OCWTP)
-Invite organizations to OHIO YAB meetings
-Maintain communication with other organizations.