Advocacy

During the past year, YWP staff delivered 16 foster care testimonies at two CFSA oversight hearings held by the Committee on Human Services. The testimonies covered issues including transportation, clothing, foster care placements, poor group home conditions, youth employment, clothing voucher, mandatory allowance, and increasing ILP stipends, education, transition, and parenting. These testimonies produced results for the individual youth – as Graham and CFSA staff vowed to address problems (poor placements, unresponsive social workers, transportation, etc) that were brought before them (and many have been addressed one week later. Committee Chair Jim Graham called the testimony “brilliant” and YWP a “driving force for change.”

The testimony of our youth staff can be viewed at:

1)  Committee on Human Services, Performance Oversight Hearing for Child and Family Services on 2.26.13  http://dc.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=11&clip_id=1717 YWP youth testimony begins at 2:31:37; and

2) Committee on Human Services, Budget Oversight Hearing for CFSAon 4.24.13   http://dc.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=11&clip_id=1614    YWP youth testimony begins at 2:21:34

The hard work and effectiveness our 2013 FCC youth staff, who used their personal experience and hardships to surface and personalize these issues, along with a strong foundation of relationships and research resulted in laws and policies that will forever change the rights and opportunities that DC foster can access.
 
·         We developed and secured the passage of the Foster Youth Transit Subsidy which will provide subsidized transportation to 400 foster youth ages 19 and 20. The law was reintroduced and passed in 12.2012; 
·         We successfully advocated for the development of a Youth Bill of Rights for foster youth (called the Foster Youth Rights and Responsibilities Amendment Act of 2012) which was signed into law on 1.22.13;
·         We successfully advocated to establish a $1,464 a year clothing voucher system, a $100 monthly allowance, and an increase in the Independent Living program stipends for youth in the DC Foster care which will be implemented starting in 9.2013;
·         We successfully advocated for a Foster Youth Employment program including subsidized training, internships, job placement. (CM Graham designated $1 million with $800,000 for youth stipends.)