NCFF’s Jenny Skala, VP of Community Impact and Kelly Medwick, VP of Marketing and Communications jetted to the nation’s capital to help launch Success Beyond 18, a national campaign of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative to create a better path for young people transitioning from foster care to adulthood.
Jenny and Kelly were joined by leading child welfare advocates at the U.S. Capitol on May 6, 2013 to show their support.
The launch included a keynote address from Governor Jack Markell of Delaware (current chair of the National Governors Association), who has devoted much of his tenure to increasing opportunities for young people in foster care. Other speakers included Gary Stangler (Executive Director of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative), Patrick McCarthy (President and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation), and young people who have experienced the foster care system first hand.
After the official announcement of the campaign, guests heard from a panel discussion of national child welfare experts featuring The Honorable Maura Corrigan, Director of the Michigan Department of Human Services; Mark Courtney, senior researcher at Chapin Hall, University of Chicago; Barbara Langford, a partner at Mainspring Consulting; and Mike Peno, a Jim Casey
Youth Opportunities Initiative Young Fellow. The interactive panel discussion, moderated by Madelyn Freundlich, focused on extending foster care for young people beyond age 18, and doing it right by ensuring the best possible outcomes for young people in their adult life.
Why does this matter to Nebraska?
Because the 300+ youth who age out of care each year have a dramatic impact on Nebraska’s economy and future. By preparing them for successful outcomes, we can avoid the nearly $90 million in lifetime costs that come from too-early pregnancy, low academic achievement, chronic unemployment, criminal involvement and homelessness.
While in Washington, D.C.,Kelly and Jenny also visited with our congressional representatives’ offices to inform them and their staff about our work on extending supports for youth aging out of foster care.
How NCFF fits into the Success Beyond 18 campaign.
The goal of this national campaign is to ensure that no young person leaves foster care without a supportive family and the opportunities they need to help them succeed in work, school, and life. We’re excited to be part of this important campaign to help our state and others make this goal a reality.
Through our Project Everlast program, we’ve already taken steps to provide youth in care across the state with a network of resources they can tap for support as they age out. The youth involved in Project Everlast have advocated for policy changes that will better support foster youth, foster families and those who have already left the system.