Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Youth take leadership role in City Council public roundtable January 22

"Yes Youth Can:   Confronting the Challenges of Aging Out" is the subject of a January 22 public roundtable being convened by the Committee on Human Services.   The roundtable, at the request of committee chair CM Tommy Wells (Ward 6), is featuring members of the Foster Care Campaign (FCC), a project of the Young Women's Project (YWP).

The purpose of the hearing is collect information and raise awareness about the experiences and struggles of older youth; the availability and effectiveness of youth programming and services and how much services cost; and what the impact is on the well-being and success of older youth.

Both the Young Women's Project and CM Wells have expressed an interest in improving the outcomes of youth who are in foster care.   The Committee on Human Services' draft FY 2010 committee report (April 30, 2009), for example, directed Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) to competitively bid life skills and other important services and supports -- which CFSA historically offered through Center of Keys for Life -- to a private service provider.   YWP was a leading supporter of this mandate.

The work of the youth involved with the Foster Care Campaign goes well beyond Center for Keys for Life.   FCC successes include:

  • Working with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Children and Youth, FCC helped write and successfully advocated for foster care group home regulations, which became law in September 2001.
  • Writing Taking Matters into Our Own Hands, a survival guide for DC youth in foster care.
  • FCC conducted focus groups in 13 group homes and collected surveys to document teen needs and experiences.   The data was included in CSSP's June 2001 report Foster Care Group Homes in the District of Columbia.

CFSA is expected to brief the committee and the community on the Office of Youth Empowerment and how CFSA is engaging youth in program planning and evaluation.

Details about the roundtable, including how to register to testify, are in the hearing notice.

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