FosterClub All-Stars talking about improving the foster care system downtown Portland.
(Pictured from left to right: Royce Markley, Mellisa Gutierrez, Lora Murphy, Regina Austin, David Inglish, and Patricia Dorr)
In 2014, the Oregon Foster Children’s Bill of Rights became law. The youth voice is guiding the implementation of the law and ensures foster youth are provided with support, resources, and protection.
FosterClub All-Star, Royce Markley, and other Oregon foster youth are calling on Oregon lawmakers to support youth in the foster care system. The 2015 Oregon Legislature has two bills HB 2889 and HB 2890 centering on foster youth:
- HB 2889- The first bill would enable youth to have a savings account beginning at age 12. Recent research indicates that when youth are empowered to have savings accounts and financial literacy training their success as adults increases substantially. Currently, barriers exist in many states to allow youth to have any type of bank account prior to leaving foster care. This strips youth of their independence and doesn't allow for youth to understand proper financial management. You can read more about the status of the bill and its summary.
- HB 2890- The second bill would allow youth to participate in normalcy activities. These activities would range from extracurricular to community activities. Foster youth are often excluded from activities with their peers and it has long lasting effects. While much progress has been made across the country and in Oregon in recognizing the importance of normalcy, child welfare systems often leave this up to the choice of foster parents or private facilities. In doing so, youth are still often unable to have any sense of normalcy. This new bill would require participation in at least one activity as directed by the youth. This bill would be one of the first in the country to require participation. You can read more about the status and summary of the bill.
Youth voice is difficult for lawmakers to ignore. Foster youth are the experts!
Royce and other youth working to improve Oregon’s foster care are highlighted in an article by the Oregonian’s Amy Wang. Read the entire article here: http://www.oregonlive.com/kiddo/index.ssf/2015/02/foster_youth_are_subject_of_se.html