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E-News December 2015         View this email in your browser      Invite a friend to subscribe

Wendi Turner

The Director's Corner 

 
For youth in foster care, holidays for a child who is not with his/her birth family can be a stark reminder of what it means not to have a family. All families have their good moments, even if they are few in number.  These moments mean the world to children in the foster care system and are often the only thing they have left of their birth family.  
While the holidays can be filled with pitfalls, if navigated successfully it can become an amazing bonding moment for foster and adoptive families – a time to sit down, share memories and grow together. By sharing special moments and implementing suggestions for navigating the holidays, families can give youth in their care the biggest gift of all.., Family and a sense of belonging. 

Enjoy your Holidays!  See you next year.

Wendi Turner, Executive Director 

Email: wendi@ofcaonline.org 
Office: 614-222-2712
Website: www.ofcaonline.org



Tips for navigating the holidays
  1. Prepare the foster youth in your care for the holidays in your home
  2. Prepare friends and family before you visit
  3. Arrange meeting your family in advance, if possible
  4. Understand and encourage your youth’s own traditions and beliefs
  5. Understand if they pull away  
  6. Call youth who formerly live you                          
READ MORE HERE

NORMALCY AND THE REASONABLE AND PRUDENT PARENT STANDARD

Learning to drive, playing a sport and going on sleepovers, they're all part of what many consider a "normal" childhood, but that's not always the case for the nearly 23,000 Ohio kids in foster care. 

The federal Strengthening Families Act, passed last year, removes some of the barriers to typical adolescent activities and emphasizes the importance of engaging young people in their own case-planning starting at age 14 and reducing group placement for children.

Each month OFCA will publish a scenario on Normalcy

SCENARIO 1

Your family enjoys everything outdoors including camping, fishing, canoeing, and hunting. You have always had your bows and guns responsibly locked away. Your 3 adopted children have all been carefully taught safety around water and weapons, and several of their friends have been allowed on hunting trips with your family because their parents know how safe and responsible you are. Michael, your first foster placement, is 16 years old and was placed in your home several weeks ago. He would like to take a Hunter Safety Course so he could go hunting with your family when the season starts in one month.

You have not had much time to get to know Michael but he seems to be enjoying the lifestyle of your family. He has never participated in any of these activities before and is anxious to try new things. Michael has been diagnosed with ADHD and is on medication. He occasionally has outbursts of anger, but is always remorseful after these episodes. You had one phone call from the school shortly after Michael was placed with you that he had threatened another child. There have been no other school incidences since then. Should you advocate with the agency to allow Michael to take the Hunter Safety Course and go hunting with your family? 

READ - WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN MAKING A DECISION

5 ways Foster youth benefit from the Every Student Succeeds Act

Touted as a product of rare bipartisan compromise, on December 10, 2015 President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law. This law responds to the gaps in education faced by vulnerable and at-risk students, including youth in foster care and juvenile justice. 

Benefits to Foster youth...
  1. Foster youth will now be able to remain in their original school even if they change placements.
  2.  Foster youth will not face as much bullying.
  3.  Foster youth will have more access to Charter schools.
  4. Foster youth and families involved with the foster care system will have access to services through Family Engagement Centers.
  5. Foster youth will continue to see improvements in their educational experiences as more information is collected and tracked. 
Read more HERE

The 2015 State of Grandfamilies in America‏
Generations United (GU) - December 3, 2015

Nationally, the numbers of children placed in foster care with relatives increased from 24 percent in 2008 to 28 percent in 2013. The top 10 states – California, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington – met Generations United’s criteria for grandfamily-friendly laws and policies.

One of the criteria used by Generations United to rank states was an opt-in to the Lifespan Respite Program. GU recognized thirty states that currently have Lifespan Respite Care programs 
or maintain services through state coalitions. The 2015 State of Grandfamilies in America report offers a resource list and recommendations to help guide the development of federal and state policies and supportive services for grandfamilies, including: empowering relatives to make informed decisions, providing access to preventative services to relatives outside of foster care, ensuring adequate supports to keep children with relatives, and promoting services for the unique needs of grandfamilies.
 

OFCA would like to congratulate ACTION Ohio and the Youth Advocacy Board (YAB) on the success of their early Thanksgiving dinners that were held in NE, SE, SW and Central Ohio for current and former foster youth.   











ACTION-Ohio and YAB continue to make huge strides in bringing together 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. 

To learn more or view ACTION Ohio accomplishments,visit Foster Action Ohio blog at: http://fosteractionohio.blogspot.com/
A Word from TEDx

By LyAnna Johnson Smith

Fostering hope

Though technically speaking abuse and neglect are the reason children enter care, the real reason is poverty.  Not the lack of money, but relational poverty which is defined as a families lack of stable relationships says former political campaign staffer, legislative staffer, and foster parent LyAnna Johnson Smith.  A lack of stable relationships is also a  key reason youth who age out of the system experience hardships.. "We have got to do better with the way we do foster care," says LeAnna.  One way is to facilitate building lasting relationships for children in care.   Click to watch Video 


Be an effective Advocate You can Make a Difference
 
     

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.







 

PCSAO follows a number of bills before the Ohio General Assembly that impact child protection directly or indirectly. The following list is a selection of bills PCSAO is currently reviewing.   Additional information can be found at: http://www.pcsao.org/public-policy/legislation

HB50 FOSTER CARE-ADOPTION ASSISTANCE AGE (PELANDA D, GROSSMAN C) To extend the age for which a person is eligible for federal foster care and adoption assistance payments under Title IV-E to age twenty-one, to provide a ward's bill of rights, to require that a guardian receive the Ohio Guardianship Guide, and to make an appropriation.
  Current Status:    12/1/2015 - PASSED BY HOUSE; Amended on Floor, Bill Vote 92-2
  State Bill Page:    https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-50
     
HB63 CHILD ABUSE-NEGLECT REPORTING (PELANDA D, GROSSMAN C) To require mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect to notify the county public children services agency when an attorney in fact under a document that purports to grant parental rights requests services from them, to require the agency to investigate the child's placement with the attorney in fact, and to require the agency to file a dependency complaint if it determines that the placement is unsafe for the child.
  Current Status:    6/2/2015 - House Community and Family Advancement, (Fourth Hearing)
  State Bill Page:    https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-63
     
HB299 CUSTODIAN-AUTISM SCHOLARSHIP (BLESSING III L, REZABEK J) To permit the temporary, legal, or permanent custodian of a qualified child to apply for an Autism Scholarship.
  Current Status:    12/8/2015 - PASSED BY HOUSE; Vote 92-0
  State Bill Page:    https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-299
     
HB317 PROTECTED CONSUMER-CREDIT FREEZE (MAAG R) To enable the parents or guardian of a protected consumer to freeze that consumer's credit to protect the consumer from identity theft.
  Current Status:    12/9/2015 - REPORTED OUT, House Financial Institutions, Housing and Urban Development, (Fourth Hearing)
  State Bill Page:    https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-317
     
HB325 PREGNANCY-CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES (GREEN D, O'BRIEN S) Regarding encouraging pregnant women who are addicted to controlled substances to seek treatment.
  Current Status:    11/4/2015 - REPORTED OUT, House Community and Family Advancement, (Third Hearing)
  State Bill Page:    https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-325
     
HB344 ADOPTION FILES (PELANDA D) Regarding the maintenance of and access to adoption files and social and medical histories.
  Current Status:    10/13/2015 - House Community and Family Advancement, (Second Hearing)
  State Bill Page:    https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-344

OHIO ADMINISTRATIVE CODE RULE REVIEW
No Rules Open For Comment  For more details visit: Ohio Rule Review website

Amendments to Children Services Licensing OAC Rules
The attached letter transmits eleven amended rules surrounding foster care updates as a result of the Five Year Review. These rules will be effective December 1, 2015. Click HERE  for a brief explanation of the changes.  
Resources, Training & Articles
 
 CHILD WELFARE NEWS

Articles

Training/Conferences


Speak Peace in Difficult Conversations: When Communication Really Matters
January 23, 2016 Columbus Ohio
Presented by Compassionate Communication Center of Ohio - Trainer Susanna Warren
Click HERE for more information

12th ANNUAL WELLS CONFERENCE ON ADOPTION LAW
March 10, 2016  Columbus, Ohio 
Permanency for Youth in Foster Care:  What Does it looks like?  How do we get there?
Presented by: The Family and Youth Law Center, in collaboration with Capital University Law Review   -   - REGISTER HERE

OACCA 19th annual conference for child and family service providers
May 23-24, 2016. Dublin Ohio
Shaping Systems of Care 2016 for children and families
CLICK FOR MORE INFORMATION
Ohio Resource Families United for Advocacy, Education and Support

           
Our mailing address is:
1151 Bethel Road, Suite 104B, Columbus, OH 43220
www.OFCAonline.org

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