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.
The OHIO YAB’s 2020 Strategic Focus Areas include:
- The establishment of a Statewide Foster Care Ombudsman’s Office
- Normalcy barriers and safety issues to be addressed, especially in group homes and residential placements
- Mandatory training tracks for foster parents and caseworkers who serve teens
- Sibling connections to be maintained and prioritized
Additional concerns that have been brought to the Board’s attention include Youth Voice in Court and the need to revise the ICCA form. Officers care deeply about these concerns, and have been following up to address them.
Alumni of Care Together Improving Outcomes Now Ohio (ACTION Ohio) is dedicated to improving outcomes for current and former foster care youth. We bring together the voices of youth, alumni and allies to create lasting change and generate hope for current and former foster youth, based on access to resources, ally support and alumni expertise.
As foster care alumni (and allies like our beloved Doris), 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.
Our joint efforts in 2020 include:
- Communication with Chancellor Randy Gardner of the Ohio Department of Higher Education regarding college messaging about dorm closings in the wake of the caronavirus
- Communications with Dr. Jerry Milner, Associate Commissioner of the Children’s Bureau, about what child welfare can do to support college students with a foster care history who are struggling due to the caronavirus
- Launching the “Don’t Forget to Foster My Future” campaign
- Meeting with ODJFS and the Office of Child Welfare Transformation to propose Independent Training Tracks and to address Normalcy Barriers
- Writing a Letter to the Editor to reiterate the top three priorities that we, as the firsthand consumers of the foster care system, have identified to positively *transform* foster care
- Sharing in-person testimony during Foster Care Forums
- Continued advocacy for a Foster Care Ombudsman’s Office, specifically for youth, that is housed under the Ohio Attorney General’s Office