Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Congratulations OFYC!!

On July 21st, OFYC members and friends presented their policy recommendations to over 100 invited guests. If you missed it, you can download the  2014 OFYC Recommendations. Thank you to the dedicated and fearless youth that came and shared their experiences, and thank you to the many guests that came out to learn and support them on the last day of conference.

 

OFYC PanelMany have been asking “What’s next?!” OFYC has a tried and true method for developing and advocating for policy chance. Over the next 5 months, OFYC members and staff will work together to vet the policy recommendations to determine which are most viable and most important to youth in foster care right now. Then, they’ll begin having conversations with legislators and other public leaders to learn what the best option would be for moving forward. Does a law need to be passed? Does a Department policy need to change? Or is  the recommendation really connected to a training issue? These are all questions that will be asked between now and February 2015, when OFYC hosts its 2015 Advocacy Convening and takes one or two of their policy issues to the capitol.

OFYCPolyCon0013CROP

 

TODAY

Today is the day! 2014 OFYC Policy Conference: From Surviving, To Success!!

Over 50, current and former foster youth, OFYC members, and adult supporters will come together this weekend for three days to discuss challenges faced in the foster care system related to health education, housing, and removing barriers.

The youth will then translate those challenges into recommendations to be presented at the OFYC Policy Luncheon, Monday July 21st.

Last minute reminders for attendees:

The OFYC Policy Conference is July 18-21, 2014 at Pacific University (2043 College Way in Forest Grove, OR).

Registration begins on Friday, July 18, 2014 at 1:00 PM in the lobby of Clark Hall (residence hall).

Late registrations, after 6 pm should meet in Berglund Room 145/147.

Conference Check-out is Monday, July 21, 2014 at 2:00 PM.

Please bring a coat, all meals will be served al fresco (outside).

Please remember to bring your own towel for the showers.

Smokers should remember to bring there Oregon State Identification cards. Underage smoking will not be tolerated.

On Saturday, (July 19th) evening there will be an open mic/ talent show/ karaoke. Remember to bring your talent, poems, music, and other art expressions to share with their peers.

On Sunday, (July 20th) morning you will be able to explore the specialty cars at the Car Show taking place on the Pacific University campus so they should bring comfortable shoes, clothes, and sunblock.

On Monday, (July 21st) afternoon you will be presenting your policy recommendations to legislators and other important decision-makers so they should bring a nice outfit (clean jeans with no holes) to wear for presentations.

Please bring your medications in the original bottles received from your pharmacist.

See you after 1:00 pm today!!!

sorenHave you heard? Soren Metzger the Oregon Foster Youth Connection Program Manager is saying goodbye!

A note from Soren Metzger:

“I’ve really enjoyed working with OFYC youth, adult supporters, and community partners. Highlights of my time with OFYC include new chapter recruitment, chapter support, and youth skills development trainings. Youth engagement in the recruitment of Oregon’s first ever Foster Care Ombudsman, Darin Mancuso. Youth empowerment in the planning and execution of action opportunities, the I’Mpossible Duffle Bag drive and Stuffing Party, the Zumba Dance Party, and the 2014 OFYC Policy Conference.

OFYC youth are brave and resilient leaders and I know they will continue to fight for a foster care system that ensures that all children and youth in the foster care system are well cared for and empowered to succeed.

My last day with CFFO as the OFYC Program Manager will be on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. If you have any questions or suggestions for a smooth transition please email me at Soren@cffo.org.”

countdown 

The 2014 OFYC Policy Conference is for current and former foster youth ages 14-25 who identify with the foster care experience, this includes youth who have been involved with Oregon Youth Authority; residential treatment; adopted; kinship care; intensive/therapeutic care; specialized care; emergency resource care; Independent Living Programs; runaways; homeless youth; and youth who’ve aged out of care.

Youth do not need to have an open case, there is no ILP involvement requirement for participation, and no minimum requirements for time in care.

Join current  and former foster youth from across Oregon for four days of fun, leadership, and speaking up for change in the foster care system!

When: July 18 – July 21

Where: Pacific University in Forest Grove, OR

Cost: No Cost to Attend

Why: To Improve the Oregon Foster Care System

In case you missed it, at our last conference we worked on a Foster Youth Bill of Rights, and went on to pass a law that requires the Department of Human Services to post youth rights in all foster homes! We were also responsible for creating a new position in the Governor’s office, called the Foster Care Ombudsman, to protect the rights of kids in state care. This Ombudsman will be available to take calls from any foster youth in the state who feels unsafe in care or who has concerns about his or her rights.

This year, members of the Oregon Foster Youth Connection have voted to discuss recommendations in three areas:

1.) Housing

When you age out of foster care, do you know where you will live? Do you have a place to stay that is safe and reliable? If you go to college, where will you go when the dorms close during winter and summer breaks? These are just some of the ways that housing is an important issue for those transitioning from foster care.

2.) Removing Barriers

Becoming an adult is difficult for anyone, from any family. But If you’ve been in foster care, there are many additional barriers that could get in the way of you reaching your dreams. As a group, you’ll get to decide what the biggest barriers are and how you think we can bust through them.

3.) Health Education

Health issues can be especially challenging for youth who have been in foster care. If you move schools a lot when you change foster homes, you might miss out on important health education classes. How do you catch up? If your doctor says you should be on some sort of medication, can you ask questions? Can you request a second opinion? These are complicated issues and if you choose this track, you can partner with other youth to come up with ideas for how kids in foster care can navigate caring for all aspects of their health.

In your registration packet, you will get to choose the issue area you would like to focus on.

Once you arrive, you will learn what’s going on in our state related to your policy issue and how to talk about your personal experiences with that particular issue. Then you will work with other foster youth to discuss ways to improve that part of the foster care system.

Through workshops and activities, you will learn how to form your ideas into concrete policy recommendations.

On the last day of the conference, you will present your recommendations as part of a team to public leaders, policy makers, DHS administrators, and community partners who work with current or former foster youth.

Immediately following the presentations, you will have the opportunity to discuss your ideas—and how to make them happen—over lunch.

To Register, download a registration packet here:

If you are OVER 18: Policy Conference Registration Packet Over 18

If you are UNDER 18: Policy Conference Registration Packet Under 18

To register online click HERE.

For questions email OFYC Program Manager, Soren Metzger soren@cffo.org.

 

 

 don-t-keep-calm-only-6-days-left

The 2014 OFYC Policy Conference is for current and former foster youth ages 14-25 who identify with the foster care experience, this includes youth who have been involved with Oregon Youth Authority; residential treatment; adopted; kinship care; intensive/therapeutic care; specialized care; emergency resource care; Independent Living Programs; runaways; homeless youth; and youth who’ve aged out of care.

Youth do not need to have an open case, there is no ILP involvement requirement for participation, and no minimum requirements for time in care.

Join current  and former foster youth from across Oregon for four days of fun, leadership, and speaking up for change in the foster care system!

When: July 18 – July 21

Where: Pacific University in Forest Grove, OR

Cost: No Cost to Attend

Why: To Improve the Oregon Foster Care System

In case you missed it, at our last conference we worked on a Foster Youth Bill of Rights, and went on to pass a law that requires the Department of Human Services to post youth rights in all foster homes! We were also responsible for creating a new position in the Governor’s office, called the Foster Care Ombudsman, to protect the rights of kids in state care. This Ombudsman will be available to take calls from any foster youth in the state who feels unsafe in care or who has concerns about his or her rights.

This year, members of the Oregon Foster Youth Connection have voted to discuss recommendations in three areas:

1.) Housing

When you age out of foster care, do you know where you will live? Do you have a place to stay that is safe and reliable? If you go to college, where will you go when the dorms close during winter and summer breaks? These are just some of the ways that housing is an important issue for those transitioning from foster care.

2.) Removing Barriers

Becoming an adult is difficult for anyone, from any family. But If you’ve been in foster care, there are many additional barriers that could get in the way of you reaching your dreams. As a group, you’ll get to decide what the biggest barriers are and how you think we can bust through them.

3.) Health Education

Health issues can be especially challenging for youth who have been in foster care. If you move schools a lot when you change foster homes, you might miss out on important health education classes. How do you catch up? If your doctor says you should be on some sort of medication, can you ask questions? Can you request a second opinion? These are complicated issues and if you choose this track, you can partner with other youth to come up with ideas for how kids in foster care can navigate caring for all aspects of their health.

In your registration packet, you will get to choose the issue area you would like to focus on.

Once you arrive, you will learn what’s going on in our state related to your policy issue and how to talk about your personal experiences with that particular issue. Then you will work with other foster youth to discuss ways to improve that part of the foster care system.

Through workshops and activities, you will learn how to form your ideas into concrete policy recommendations.

On the last day of the conference, you will present your recommendations as part of a team to public leaders, policy makers, DHS administrators, and community partners who work with current or former foster youth.

Immediately following the presentations, you will have the opportunity to discuss your ideas—and how to make them happen—over lunch.

To Register, download a registration packet here:

If you are OVER 18: Policy Conference Registration Packet Over 18

If you are UNDER 18: Policy Conference Registration Packet Under 18

To register online click HERE.

For questions email OFYC Program Manager, Soren Metzger soren@cffo.org.

 

 

IMG_7792

Emma Patrick recently completed her senior project and internship at Looking Glass and as an OFYC adult supporter. Emma will graduate later this month from the University of Oregon and hopes to continue her career in social work.

A message from the OFYC Lane County Advisor:

“Emma did an outstanding job assisting OFYC members this past year. She listened to the youth’s input and interests and used that information to find meaningful action opportunities in the community for the youth to participate in. Emma made sure members received OFYC minutes, updates on meetings, and information about action opportunities in a timely manner. She will be missed!”

Thank you for a job well done and good luck to you!

bill of rightsGovernor Kitzhaber released the following statement after signing Senate Bill 123 on June 26, 2013, establishing a Foster Youth Bill of Rights that guarantees basic rights for the 13,000 foster children in state care:

“Foster youth deserve to know their rights and should be empowered to assert those rights. While we need to reduce the need for foster care, we also have a responsibility to do everything possible to make foster care safe and supportive. The Foster Youth Bill of Rights ensures Oregon’s foster youth have access to tools and support they deserve while helping them reach their full potential. I commend the Oregon Foster Youth Connection members who helped advocate for this important legislation.”

According to statute children and youth in foster care must be made aware of their rights within 6o days of a placement or any change in placement. Age and developmentally appropriate documents outlining foster children and youth rights must also be posted in all foster homes.

The first version of the Bill of Rights was just released:

As a child or youth in foster care, I have the right –

To have what every child needs:
· A permanent family
· A home where I am part of the family and am treated as such
· Nutritious food that meets my dietary needs
· Clean and appropriate clothes that fit me and correspond to a gender identity of my choice
· Safe housing
· Free access to soap, shampoo, toothpaste and other hygiene needs that are necessary for my gender, age, individual health and ethnic needs
· A safe and appropriate sleeping arrangement and adequate space for my personal belongings
· To keep my belongings, including things I buy and gifts I receive if I have to move
· Access to a working telephone

To be safe:
· To be treated with respect
· To be appropriately disciplined
· To be protected from physical, mental, sexual or emotional abuse
· To have my physical boundaries respected and honored within safe, appropriate standards (i.e.: no forcing of hugs, hand holding)
· To tell my caseworker, judge or the Foster Care Ombudsman when contact with someone is hurtful to me or inappropriate so that I can be protected without fear of retaliation.
· To be free from group punishment

To see and talk to people I care about:
· To visit and communicate with a parent or guardian, siblings, members of my, and other significant people in my life, knowing that reasonable limits may be set by DHS and the court.
· To visit and communicate with friends and other significant people except when DHS or the court determines that contact may be unsafe or emotionally harmful.
· To participate in age appropriate activities with my peers, so long as it is not restricted by DHS and the court

To be healthy:
· To have routine check-ups to keep me healthy
· To see a nurse or a doctor if I am sick and request medical attention
· To have the medical, dental, mental health care I need with a qualified appropriate provider
· To be included in discussions and make decisions about my own body and my physical or mental health.
· To have or receive comprehendible information about me and my family’s medical history as appropriate and authorized by law.

To learn:
· To be provided with age-appropriate educational opportunities and schooling to prepare me for adult life.
· To be allowed the opportunity to participate in activities that interest me; including sports, art, music or others.
· To receive extra help and tutoring if I am struggling in my school or educational placement.
· To make choices about my classes (electives, advanced placement, or college prep) and schools when the law allows me to.
· To receive age-appropriate information and assistance with enrolling in college or vocational education.

To have my rights protected:
· Have an attorney if I want one, and to request the judge appoint a CASA advocate to my case.
· Talk to my attorney and/or CASA advocate in private.
· To be notified of court hearings, reviews by the Citizen Review Board, and what being decided about me and my family in an age appropriate manner.
· To be invited to attend court and talk to the judge in court about what I want and need.
· To decide whether or not I want my attorney and/or CASA advocate to speak for me.
· To call the Foster Care Ombudsman Office (free from retaliation from my foster parents or anyone else) if my rights are violated or my needs are not being met.

To be in a place that meets my needs:
· If it’s safe and in my best interest, as deemed by my case plan, visitation plan, or the court to be in a foster care placement close to my family so that I can visit and maintain relationships important to me.
· Have reasonable access to my bedroom, house or residence of where I am living.
· Have a curfew and house rules that are clear and fair and to have them explained to me from the beginning.

To make decisions for myself:
· To tell the court where I want to live and whether or not I want to be adopted.
· To receive respect, be nurtured, and attend activities in accordance with my background, religious heritage, race, and culture within reasonable guidelines. To be allowed to dress and groom myself according to my culture, identity and within good hygiene standards for my health.
· To determine and express my gender and sexual identity for myself
· To make major decisions that affects my life, in accordance with the law, my age and ability.

To be informed:
· About financial support available to me, including allowance, obtaining a bank account and getting a job
· About services and programs within or outside of the Department of Human Services that can provide me with support.
· About where I can go for help.
· About how the child welfare system works.
· About how to access my case records at no charge.

I understand that the adults in my life make rules and set limits to protect me and help me make good decisions. When I need to, I can contact my attorney or CASA advocate to help me and talk to them privately. If I ever need to do so, I can contact the Foster Care Ombudsman at 1-855-840-6036 and talk to them about my problem.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 683 other followers