Note: This is the second of a week long series of articles highlighting the Oregon Foster Youth Connection and foster youth in Oregon. Check back daily for more stories.
Yesterday, May 26, 2015, the Oregon Foster Youth Connection (OFYC) was honored by the City Club of Portland with a Civic Award at their annual awards ceremony at the Sentinel Hotel in Portland. The Civic Award recognizes organizations that empower youth to use their civic voice.
“This was a huge recognition and this award is the culmination of a lot of hard work by OFYC members over the last six years.” says Lisa McMahon, Program Director. “OFYC was honored to receive this award and be recognized alongside so many incredible youth who are using their voice to make Oregon a better place.”
OFYC member’s civic participation takes many forms. OFYC has an active presence in policy conversations and rulemaking with federal, state, and local officials. That means foster youth are sitting at the same table as foster parents, policy makers, government officials, judges and elected leaders to make important changes to the foster care system in Oregon.
Another way OFYC members use their civic voice is through legislative advocacy. Each legislative session, OFYC members determine their list of legislative policy priorities and create legislation. They spend the entire session advocating for that legislation in the Oregon Legislature, including at a two day advocacy convening.
They have a recent history of success with several important pieces of legislation pertaining to foster youth. This session, their two proposed bills have already passed the Oregon House of Representatives by a wide bipartisan margin and just this week it passed out of an Oregon Senate committee. The bills now await final passage in the Senate.