Youth Villages stories

Ary

Bipartisan bill introduced to fund relief for transition-age youth

Sep 8, 2020 | Blog

Ary and other LifeSet participants shared their COVID-19 experiences with congressional representatives to advocate for targeted relief for older foster youth during the crisis and its recovery. She connected with staff in Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford’s office, telling them about the impact of COVID-19 on her life and the need for immediate financial support for transition-age foster youth.

“Young people with lived experience bring a perspective and voice to advocacy work that can’t be found anywhere else,” said Tony Parsons, federal policy associate at Youth Villages. “What really resonates with policymakers are the personal stories of how someone has been affected or could be, and having a young person share that in their own words is extremely powerful.”

Parsons, who experienced adoption from foster care, is part of the #UpChafee effort that has brought more than 220 organizations and hundreds of young people together to advocate for COVID-19 relief for transition-age youth.

“Young people raising their voices is creating change,” Parsons said. “Youth Villages is committed to amplifying their voices in our advocacy efforts and beyond.”

Young people’s advocacy helped shape the bipartisan Supporting Foster Youth and Families through the Pandemic Act (H.R. 7947) – introduced on Aug. 7 by Representatives Danny Davis (D-IL) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN. The bill aims to address the urgent needs of children, youth and families involved with the child welfare system during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a time of heightened partisanship, H.R. 7947 carries the support of the U.S. House Committee on Ways & Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) and Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX), and has also received support from First Lady Melania Trump.

“We want Congress to pass H.R. 7947 as soon as possible” Parsons said. “This legislation would provide the immediate assistance to older foster youth during the crisis, that they’ve been advocating for through the  #UpChafee campaign.” Click here for more information on the bill.

Local, state and national organizations are invited to sign onto a letter of support for H.R. 7947 – please sign on if you haven’t already! Individuals can also sign onto the change.org petition.

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