MORE THAN 120 SCHEDULED TO ATTEND SOUTHWEST “OHIO FOSTERING CONNECTIONS” FORUM TOMORROW
Public Policy Discussion to Extend Foster Care Support to Age 21 Includes Legislators, Public & Private Supporters, Youth
When: Wednesday, July 30, 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon
Issue Briefing & Youth Panel: 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.
Interview Availability: 9:30 to 10 a.m.
Forum Continues: 10 a.m. to noon
Where: United Way of Greater Cincinnati
2400 Reading Road
- State Reps. Zach Milkovich, D-Akron and Lynn Wachtmann, R-Napolean (invited) as co-sponsors of HB 423; and supporter State Senator Dale Mallory (D-Cincinnati)
- Moira Weir, Director, Hamilton County Job & Family Services (JFS)
- Meredith Hicks, Planning & Policy Director, Lighthouse Youth Services
- Kelly Vyzral, Associate Director for Government RelationsOhio Association of Child Caring Agencies
- Youth Panelists
What: A capacity crowd of more than 120 community leaders will assemble tomorrow at the Southwest “Ohio Fostering Connections” community forum to discuss what happens when young people age out of foster care; how we extend support to age 21 in Ohio; and how that policy change will reduce youth homelessness in our community. The Southwest Ohio forum, which includes Cincinnati, Hamilton County and surrounding counties, is the second in a series of five meetings being held around Ohio.
Supporters believe that Ohio’s expanded support of foster youth from age 18 to 21 could serve as the single most important public policy change to improve the lives of children in the child welfare system, which is why Hamilton County Job & Family Services, Lighthouse Youth Services and others are working with a coalition of statewide advocates to achieve this policy change in Ohio – the only large state that has not already done so.
Federal funding first became available to states to expand their foster care services in 2008, following the passage of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act. Since then, 26 states and the District of Columbia have extended, or are in the process of extending, support to foster youth through age 21.
Extending the Ohio foster care age is more important now than ever before. Research shows that extending care results in youth experiencing improved outcomes, including being more likely to obtain a high school diploma, enroll in college, avoid homelessness, human trafficking, unplanned pregnancies and contact with the criminal justice system.
Local supporters and southwest “Ohio Fostering Connections” forum host committee members represent The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr/US Bank Foundation; The Greater Cincinnati Foundation; Hamilton County Job and Family Services; Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio, LLC; Lighthouse Youth Services; Ohio Fostering Connections; and ProKids.
For more information about the “Ohio Fostering Connections” campaign for young people aging out of foster care, visit www.ohiofosteringconnections.org.
Tamie Sullivan, Lighthouse Youth Services
Cell # 513.252.5565 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Gregg, Hamilton County Job & Family Services
Cell # 513.218.1400 or email@example.com
About Lighthouse Youth Services
Lighthouse Youth Services provides a wide range of residential, educational, mental health support services for children, youth, and families. Since 1969 Lighthouse Youth Services has received national recognition as an innovator in services for families in crisis; housing for homeless teens; residential treatment for young people; education, counseling and training for youth and families. Lighthouse operates the area’s only direct access around-the-clock crisis shelter for runaways and homeless youth and is the largest provider of foster care in Hamilton County. LYS also operates the only state-supported private juvenile corrections program for serious juvenile felons, Lighthouse Youth Center at Paint Creek, serving youth from all over Ohio. Lighthouse Youth Services is funded in part by the City of Cincinnati, is a United Way Agency Partner, and is a Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity. For more information, visit on-line at www.lys.org.
About Hamilton County Job and Family Services
Hamilton County Job and Family Services administers federal, state and local programs for those in need. The Department helps with local child protection, elderly protection, child care, child support enforcement, workforce development, cash assistance, food assistance and Medicaid disbursement. Servicing Hamilton County since 1947, the Department helps hundreds of thousands each year and is accredited by the Council on Accreditation, an international, independent, not-for-profit child and family service accrediting organization.