Mailbag: Alaska's Foster Care Reform (update: signed!)

Update: When Denali Kid Care was vetoed, we worried about the Foster Care bill. But on June 16, HB 126 was signed into law! Thanks to everyone who wrote in support of Alaska's youth.
----

Alaska's 2,000 youth in foster care got a helping hand when the state House passed HB 126: Success for Foster Youth, in April. Governor Parnell has until Friday June 4 to veto budget items like this, and supporters are asking us to email the governor in favor of the bill.

Thomas Azzarella of the Anchorage Youth Development Coalition wrote to Bent Alaska about HB 126 and the needs of queer youth in foster care:
I read your last posting about Kady Titus and I was extremely excited to hear about her great accomplishments. Unfortunately, not all youth in our state's foster care system are succeeding as well. We also know that LGBTQ youth often have some of the most difficult experiences in our foster care system.

Please spread this message to as many people as possible to help support Alaska's youth in foster care. Below is a message from Rose Foley, Legislative Aide for Representative Les Gara, about current legislation in front of the Governor that needs community support to ensure that it doesn't get vetoed! These funds will directly impact lives of hundreds of youth in our state's foster care system. Please take the moment read and act!

All you have to do is send an email to Governor Parnell stating, "I believe in supporting youth in foster care and I urge you to support HB 126 and the budget items that have been included." sean.parnell@alaska.gov It will take you no more then 2 minutes of your time and may have dramatic impact on lives of our state's youth in transitional care.

Thank you for your continual support of ALL of Alaska's youth!

Here is the message from Rose Foley, Aide to Represenative Gara:

This session House Bill 126 passed, as did important, cost-effective reforms we passed as part of the operating budget. HB 126 extends foster care to age 21 and allowing foster youth to reenter care if they realize they left too soon. The budget reforms and legislation now go to Governor Parnell, who has the power to veto the items that have been included in the budget.

Here's where you come in!

Email or write to the Governor and tell him that you support HB 126 and the budget items that have been included. Urge him to make sure they stay in the budget. The messages can be short – just be clear about the items you are supporting. Please be sure your messages are polite, and avoid form letters – these are not given as much consideration as a quick note in your own voice. The budget items relating to foster care aim to increase the educational and adult success of these youth, who the state is the legal guardian for. They are:

• $160,500 for two new positions to work as Independent Living Specialists
• $200,000 for a mentoring program
• $80,000 to provide transportation to avoid mid-term school transfers
• $100,000 to extend the housing assistance currently provided
• $55,000 for University of Alaska scholarships
• $85,000 for the Education and Training Vouchers program for higher education
• $30,000 for foster parent recruitment
• $5,000 to send informational mailers about the FosterWear discount clothing program

Please send your emails to: sean.parnell@alaska.gov and karen.rehfeld@alaska.gov

Thanks again for your support. Please take a moment to let your governor know how important these issues are to our state, and Alaska's children.

3 comments:

Matthew said...

Done :)

E. Ross said...

Thanks!

E. Ross said...

The last piece of the foster care reform effort, House Bill 126, was signed yesterday - woot!

Copyright © 2008 by Bent Alaska.