In a successful week for Oregon's foster youth, Oregon's house of representatives passed two bills H.R 2889 and 2890. These bills are unique in that each of these bills was inspired by youth from across Oregon!
- 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.
Though they still must pass the senate, both bills have bipartisan support and are expected to move forward. Do you support these bills for foster youth? If so contact your local senator in Oregon and let them know you support it! Check out how to find your Oregon Senator here.