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Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
30 E. Broad Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215-3414
 
Ted Strickland
Governor
 Helen Jones-Kelley
Director
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 2, 2008
 Contact: Dennis Evans, Communications
Phone: (614) 466-6650
E-mail: evansd04@odjfs.state.oh.us
ODJFS to kick off Foster Care Month with conference

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is hosting the annual Foster Care Month Celebration conference on May 5, 2008 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Studio 2 theater in the Verne Riffe Center, 77 South High Street in Columbus. The free conference serves as a forum to learn more about programs to assist foster families and to recognize individual contributions in foster care.

 

"It is important to show our appreciation for foster families and the many relatives who step forward to care for children," ODJFS Director Helen Jones-Kelley said. "With their love and compassion, they provide more than shelter and temporary solutions to children - they change lives."

 

Currently, Ohio has 12,100 certified licensed foster homes and 17,702 children in foster care. Slightly more than 16 percent or about 2,800 of those children reside with relatives. Each year in Ohio, about 1,000 youth age-out or emancipate from foster care. Additional families are needed to take on the challenge of fostering, especially for older youth in need of attention and support. Former foster children who have not established family and other adult connections are more likely to experience homelessness, poverty, unemployment, periled health and incarceration.

 

Conference participants can obtain information on how to become a foster parent or kinship caregiver and learn more about programs designed to assist foster parents and children, including Kinship Permanency Incentive, Independent Living, Education Training Vouchers and the Family Search and Engagement Initiative.

 

Featured conference speakers include Ebony Orr, Vice President, Ohio Youth Advisory Board and Grammy winning recording artist and stage actor Quan Howell. Other participants include youth representatives from the Foster Care Alumni of America, Ohio Chapter, the Public Children Services Association of Ohio, the Ohio Independent Living Association, the Ohio Family Care Association, and the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing.

 

Various county child welfare organizations are also recognizing local foster parents with awards and promotional activities throughout the month of May.

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