Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Congratulations, Alex McFarland

Congratulations to Alex McFarland for being selected to serve on the inaugural National Foster Youth and Alumni Policy Council, headed up by FosterClub and Foster Care Alumni of America.

Alex currently serves as Legislative Liaison of Foster Care Alumni of America Ohio chapter and Vice President of the Ohio Youth Advisory Board.

The majority of council members are between the ages of 16 and 24 at the start of their service. Two seats are reserved specifically for older alumni.

Requirements for Eligibility:
  • Must have spent time in out-of-home care (may include foster care, residential treatment, kinship care, legal guardianship)
  • Demonstrate capacity to participate in a leadership position involving child welfare policy (for example, through participation on a Youth Advisory Board or Youth Council)
  • Be able to articulate ideas and solutions regarding youth issues and concerns 
  • Have the ability to interact constructively with peers in a group setting

Alex's Qualifications:

Alexander McFarland has served as President of Ohio's statewide foster care youth advocacy board (Ohio YAB) for two years. He currently serves as Vice President.

When the Ohio YAB lost its funding and supportive staff, Alex immediately began advocating for alternative funds, and succeeded in attaining a grant for 25K that currently supports the continued existence of not only the statewide board, but county and regional foster youth advisory boards as well. Alex has traveled throughout the state of Ohio to help create and develop youth advisory boards..

Alex has served as the Legislative Liaison for the Ohio chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America for three years. He participated in the 2008 FCAA Alumni Leadership Institute and the 2009 anniversary of Chafee funding. Alex was chosen by Ohio's First Lady to represent the needs of Ohio's foster care youth on Governor Strickland's 2010 Steering Committee to support Youth and Young Adults in Transition. In 2010, Alex was chosen as a FosterClub Outstanding Young Leader.

Alex is known throughout the state for his vision and determination. He testified before Ohio legislators to advocate for the restoration of the state Independent Living Allocation. He arranged for Ohio foster care youth, alumni and allies to visit 24 legislator’s offices on April 28, 2009, in order to promote Ready to Launch, a reminder to Ohio legislators of a front-end investment in transitional youth.

Alex recently met with the Ohio Attorney General on December 15, 2011 to encourage his office to partner with the Ohio Board of Regents in order to fund a full-time position to support Ohio Reach, a statewide initiative to increase the number of foster care youth who enroll in and graduate from college.