February 4, 2014
Chris Thomas, Oregon News Service
Salem, Ore. – Interviews are under way to select Oregon’s first ombudsman for youth in foster care – and who better to ask the tough questions than people with firsthand experience in the system? The Oregon Foster Youth Connection is a group of current and former foster children, ages 14 to 25, that spent the past few years convincing the legislature of the need for a clear Bill of Rights for foster children.
OFYC member Nico Marquez was interviewed on Think Out Loud this January to talk about his experience in foster care and finally being adopted at the age of 20.
Nico’s story is highlighted in the middle of a story about author Jake Dekker’s new book titled “One Kid At A Time.” Tune in around 22:00 minutes to hear Nico speak!
EUGENE, Ore. — Fall is here and schools are officially in full swing. While many students only have to worry about moving on to the next level of education, for some the transition is a lot more than what classes to take on next.
According to the 2011 numbers by the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis Reporting System, more than 400,000 kids are in foster care. Other studies estimate that each year, about 20,000 young people are forced to “age out” of the system. While many are 18 years old, they still need support and services.
“I just started with the Independent Living Program (ILP) and aging out. It was a struggle and I’m not gonna lie, I’m still terrified. I’m 21 and I’m just learning how to start a solid savings account,” said transitioning foster youth, Patrick Kindred.
Over the summer, OFYC won the fight for free college tuition for students who had experienced foster care. The Tuition Waver Bill (HB 3471) will make those who have spent at least a year in foster care after the age of 16 eligible for the waiver, which will include all tuition and extra fee costs, with the goal of encouraging more foster youth to attend college. Only 2.5 percent of foster students in Oregon earn a four-year degree, compared to 19 percent of the general population, according to Children First For Oregon. Legislators estimate that over 240 kids will take advantage of this program by 2013.
Foster children will be able to attend Oregon’s public universities and community colleges for free, under a bill headed to Gov.John Kitzhaber. The bill passed the Oregon Senate Tuesday by a margin of 25 to four, after easily passing the House last week. Pamela Butler is with Children First for Oregon. She says youth aging out of the foster care system have faced two barriers to college: lack of money and inadequate emotional support. She says the tuition waivers should take care of one of those problems.
SALEM, OR — Legislation that grants college tuition waivers to current or former Oregon foster care children was approved by the state Senate Tuesday afternoon. The bill requires all seven public universities, 17 community colleges and the Oregon Health Sciences University to waive tuition and fees to young adults under 25 who have been part of the foster care system. Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum said nearly 400 teens age out of the foster system each year. She said this bill is a great step to help foster children, who have already overcome great adversity and challenges, be successful in life.
The legislature passed a measure Tuesday that it hopes will help ease the challenges for foster youth seeking a college degree.
The Senate voted 25-4 in support of House Bill 3471, which requires Oregon universities and colleges to waive tuition and fees for foster youths applying to their programs as well as directs the Oregon Student Assistance Commission to give them preference for Oregon Opportunity Grants. Participating students will be required to complete 30 hours of community service each year, probably mentoring other foster children considering applying for college.
ASHLAND, Ore. — Foster children in Oregon are could soon receive more help paying for college. A plan by the Oregon legislature is aimed at helping those children who may have a harder time reaching higher education.
Some foster children who make it through state-sponsored care would qualify for tuition waivers at community colleges and four-year institutions under a bill that cleared the Oregon House on Wednesday.
House Bill 3471, which moved to the Senate on a 50-9 vote, was one of 30 bills that representatives slogged through as the Legislature pressed closer to adjournment of the 2011 session. Several of those bills move to Gov. John Kitzhaber.
SALEM — After spending two months buried in a legislative committee, a proposal to waive the cost of tuition and fees for foster youths who want to study at Oregon’s state colleges and universities got its first floor vote Wednesday.
The House voted 50-9 in support of House Bill 3471. The waiver would cover tuition and college expenses not already covered by state and federal grants. But some had balked about the cost — an estimated $1 million for the 2012-13 academic year.
SALEM—Foster care children without the necessary funds to attend higher education may be in luck. Representatives will vote later this week on whether to subsidize the post-secondary education of current and former foster care children attending Oregon University System schools.
For college seniors across the nation, graduation marks the end of years of hard work and a hopeful transition into the working world. For those raised in the foster care system, it also means the triumph over nearly insurmountable odds.
Josh Griggs, a Portland State senior, is part of the 2 percent of former foster children to graduate college. On June 12, Griggs, who was bounced constantly between various foster homes in the Oregon-Washington area during his childhood, will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in social work.
One hundred young people who have been in foster care were named Outstanding Young Leaders of 2011 in celebration of National Foster Care Month. The recipients from all across the U.S. were honored by FosterClub, the national network for youth in foster care, for their demonstrated resilience, leadership, accomplishments, educational achievement, and community service.
You’ve been talking about me. I was one of the statistics: a foster kid, like one of the 1,019 children and young people living in foster care in Lane County today. My story would not make the news, even though what I have been able to accomplish has beaten all the odds.
SALEM — No one disagrees with the premise: Oregon ought to do all it can to help kids aging out of foster care get a solid start as adults.
But a proposal to waive the cost of tuition and fees for foster youths who want to study at Oregon’s state colleges and universities is struggling in the 2011 Legislature because of government’s money troubles.
Free tuition for foster kids: Some state lawmakers in Salem say it’ll give troubled teens a better future. A proposal to waive the college tuition for students who have been in Oregon’s foster care system got a hearing in Salem on Tuesday.
This is the third year the organization advocated for improvements in Oregon’s child welfare system.
Senate Bill 243 and House Bill 3471 would create tuition waivers at state universities and community colleges for youths aging out of foster care…
Children First for Oregon: Guiding ‘kiddos’ in the Foster Care System | November 9, 2010
Jamie Hinsz knows too well: The kids moving through Oregon’s foster care system can use all the help they can get. “I got to move when I felt uncomfortable, but most of…
Human ‘Angels’ Built Joshua Morgan-Griggs’ Hope | September 25, 2010
Morgan-Griggs, 22, has lived in 11 foster placements and attended
nine schools. When he was 6, his beloved mother — who taught him to love and respect everybody — gave him and his sister away to a family friend…
Oregon Drug Rules Tighten for Foster Children | June 18, 2010
Snegirev ran away from his foster home at 15, in part he says, because he didn’t want to take the drugs any longer. He thinks the new state law doesn’t go far enough. He’d like to see a mandatory waiting period, allowing a child to get used to a new foster home before he is given psychiatric drugs.
The National Foster Youth Action Network Announces Selection of the Oregon Foster Youth Connection as First Affiliate | May 21, 2010
In Oregon, youth’s testimony and conversations with legislators were the deciding factors in the passage of a new law that will extend health care benefits to foster youth until the age of 21.
Butler says there is a magic in the room when current and former foster youth are surrounded by one-another. “The room lights up,” she said. “It means a lot to us all because we understand each other.” Butler said that many of the members are beginning to share their stories publicly too, which helps create a greater awareness of the experiences of foster youth.
Bill Expands Health Coverage for Former Foster Youth | March 1, 2010
New legislation will extend medical coverage to former foster youth, who are no longer in the foster care system. Under the bill, individuals will have medical…
May 29, 20o9 | OR Kids Newsletter
For National Foster Care Month during May, Butler galvanized OFYC to launch the 2009 duffle bag drive. Fifteen thousand youth moved through Oregon’s …
May 26, 2009 | Foster Youth Have a Modest Wish
It seems like such a humble request. Please, could you spare a duffle bag? But you might be surprised to learn how much dignity a simple duffle bag can confer to an Oregon foster child. That is, when the alternative is a black plastic garbage bag. That’s what many foster children now use to stow their belongings.
May 17, 2009 | Foster Care Fairness
Zachary Miller, 16, who lives with foster parents in Ashland, passed the test to get a driver’s permit but couldn’t get permission from state child welfare officials for his license. Now he and other teens are lobbying lawmakers in Salem to ensure that foster youths have the chance to get their licenses.