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.