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“Youth Movement” Aims to Fix Ohio’s Foster Care System

September 26, 2007

Columbus, OH – Foster kids will get a say in how the child welfare system works at a conference that starts today in Columbus. Arlene Jones with the Ohio Youth Advisory Board was in foster care as a child. She says youth have a lot to say about what needs to be fixed in the foster care system and can even help train new foster parents.

"One thing that other states are already doing is letting actual foster care youth do some hours of training. They come in and help foster parents understand the children that they’ll be taking in."

She says foster families need more access to training and preventive health care for kids. This week’s conference includes workshops for foster kids, and the launch of the "My Story" project -- a series of films made by foster care youth about their experiences.

Jones says another priority is helping grandparents and other relatives who are taking in children and doing the work of foster parents.

"We should help people who are related to the youth, people who want to take in a child to help until the parents get back on their feet. They don't get the same type of assistance that foster parents do."

For more information on the conference, visit www.pcsao.org.

Rob Ferrett/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OH