Oregon

Name of group: Oregon Foster Youth Connection (OFYC)

When started: 2008

Advocating for: the 14,000 foster youth in Oregon

Sponsoring non-profit organization: Children First for Oregon, Oregon’s most respected non-profit, non-partisan child advocacy organization

Accomplishments:

  • Governor Kitzhaber signs OFYC-sponsored legislation for free college tuition for foster youth
  • OFYC leadership team completed intensive two-day leadership training by Foster Youth in Action
  • Coordinated a successful Advocacy Day at the Oregon legislature. After two days of training by the Foster Youth in Action training team, twelve OFYC members had 20 individual meetings with Oregon legislators to discuss free college tuition and greater access to ILP.
  • Download a PDF version of The OFYC Policy Conference Recommendations
  • Held three-day Leadership and Policy Conference October 23-25, 2010. Youth developed and presented recommendations to 25 top child welfare officials on their priority policy issues for 2010: helping Oregon foster youth understand their legal rights; getting a waiver of college tuition; and expanding services to foster youth as they transition out of care. Now youth have established relationships with the powerful officials who can help them win the next wave of policy changes.
  • Collected and distributed over 1,000 duffle bags to youth in care so they don’t have to move from home to home with only plastic bags to hold their belongings
  • Built their membership to 60 youth from around the state
  • Testified at legislative hearings and won passage of a new law that will extend health care benefits to foster youth until the age of 21
  • Represented the youth voice on the Department of Human Services Child Welfare Advisory Committee
  • Created eight Raising Awareness Videos distributed to thousands of Oregonians
  • Participated in a local Juvenile Court Improvement Project

OFYC is the best thing that has happened to Oregon foster youth in a long time. We don’t know how you’ve lived. You need to tell me about it and how to make it better. What you have accomplished in such a short time is huge.”
– Peter Buckley, Member of the Oregon House of Representatives and Co-Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee