Passing Oregon HB 4120 will help our foster youth
This month, we are happy to feature a guest blog by Arminda Barnes, Elisha BigBack, Darrylann Becker, Rebecca Lusk, Sarah Sheelar, and Susanne Ulvi, current master’s of social work students at Portland State University.
Who taught you the skills that prepared you for adulthood? How would your life be different if you were not taught individualized independent living skills that would prepare you to be a successful adult?
All youth need to learn skills to develop into safe, healthy, and functional adults. As a result of childhood trauma and instability, many foster youth need and benefit from additional support to learn skills they need as they emerge into adulthood. Transition services—which includes state funded Independent Living Programs (ILPs)—provide individualized services to youth to assist with career development, financial stability, household maintenance, how to access community resources and healthcare, learning about healthy relationships, and other important functions of living independently as an adult.
In 2019, the Oregon Legislature failed to act on a funding recommendation to stabilize and expand services and ILP providers for Oregon foster youth.
The number of ILP providers is grossly inadequate to serve the needs of current foster youth, and ILPs across Oregon are vastly underfunded for costs associated with helping this population of youth. Currently, less than half of eligible foster youth are receiving services.
In 2020—right now—we have another opportunity to truly support Oregon’s future.
Oregon Foster Youth Connection (OFYC) empowers current and former foster youth to share their voice and to be heard in key decisions affecting children and youth in foster care. OFYC developed and proposed Oregon HB 4120 which will dramatically improve transition services for foster youth.
Oregon HB 4120 asks for an additional $2 million for transition services for foster youth through Oregon’s Independent Living Program. If passed, ILP providers will be stabilized so they continue their important work. This investment will result in more individual coaches for youth and serve up to 200 more youth in the ILP program statewide.
We are six Portland State University master’s of social work students who are passionate about ensuring Oregon foster youth are adequately prepared to enter adulthood and can actively contribute to Oregon’s future. We support OFYC’s advocacy to pass HB 4120 and urge you to get involved and support foster youth in Oregon.
Get involved TODAY! We need immediate support for this bill to pass.
Call AND email your legislator encouraging them to vote for HB 4120. Find your representatives here.
It is more important than ever to invest in these important transition services for youth.
This is a great opportunity for you to make a difference, to support Oregon foster youth, and to shape the future generation of Oregon.