May is National Foster Care Awareness Month, a time to acknowledge the 463,000 children and youth in foster care and the family members, foster parents, volunteers, mentors, child welfare professionals, and policymakers who help them find permanent homes and connections. It is also a time to join forces and renew our commitment to ensuring a bright future for the over 8,800 Kentucky children in Out of Home Care (OOHC). 

Along with the Partnership for America’s Children and other state-based campaign partners across the country, Kentucky Youth Advocates and True Up are leading a project to build advocacy momentum in Kentucky for the Journey to Success federal policy reform campaign. 

This campaign seeks to improve opportunities and outcomes for all youth and young adults who experience foster care by promoting their healing, family connections, and economic security. Essential to the project is the team of six young adults with lived experience that will be spearheading the efforts to inform the focus of Kentucky’s policy advocacy. This team will be leading a statewide workgroup whose goals are to determine priorities to lift up in Kentucky based on the needs of our young people in foster care and collectively advocate for federal policy change to improve opportunities and outcomes.

The young adult team will have the opportunity to build support for federal policy change through meetings and events with Kentucky’s federal delegation of lawmakers and by sharing the stories of how young Kentuckians will benefit from the proposed changes. Finally, the team will develop and launch a communications and media engagement plan to generate public understanding of the needs for all youth and specifically youth of color, as well as public support for policy changes.

But we need your help! 

We are currently looking for current and former foster youth, child welfare professionals, policymakers, and other advocates who would like to engage in the statewide workgroup and inform policy change to better support Kentucky’s current and former foster youth. As part of this workgroup, folks at the table will have the opportunity to advocate for current and former foster youth, network with other advocates across the state, and, ultimately, inform significant child welfare policy change at the federal level.

The group will be meeting three times over the course of the next several months (all meetings will be held virtually via Zoom):

  • Tuesday, May 10th from 3:00-4:30 PM ET
    • Topic: Introduction to JTS Policy Framework + discussion of needs of Kentucky’s current and former foster youth
  • Tuesday, June 7th from 3:00-4:30 PM ET
    • Topic: Discussion on JTS policy recommendations of most importance to Kentucky youth and young adults
  • Tuesday, July 12th, from 3:00-4:30 PM ET
    • Topic: Finalize Kentucky’s federal policy priorities + discussions on next steps for collective advocacy

If you are interested in joining these meetings, please register to participate.