Who We Are
We represent the statewide chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America, a national organization which was established with the support of Casey Family Programs to connect alumni and transform the child welfare system.
Our chapter is comprised of a group of foster care
alumni and our
allies who live in Ohio.
As former foster youth (ages 18+), we have successfully navigated the foster care experience, and are uniquely aware of the challenges faced by young people in and from foster care. We have first-hand knowledge what it is like to" age out" of care and navigate our way into adulthood.
It is our honor to listen to and support the voices of current foster care youth as well. Check out our COLOR-CODED MAP that illustrates the development of county and regional Youth Advisory Boards throughout the state!
If you experienced out-of-home placement, including staying with relatives, guardians, group homes and/or residential placements, you can join FCAA. If you did not experience foster care but believe in our mission, you (or your organization) can join, too!
Visit our BLOG for pictures and details of our latest activities...
Advocacy and Mentorship
LEVELS OF TRANSFORMATION: Through advocacy, people who grew up in the foster care system are able to translate their insights from first-hand experience into positive changes in the local, statewide and even national foster care system.
Foster care alumni can accomplish more together than we can alone. A collective voice is more difficult to silence. By sharing initiatives throughout the nation, we avoid having to re-create the wheel each time we want to change a particular child welfare policy.
During the week of Thanksgiving in 2007, former foster children from all over the nation told Congress about the need for federal financing reform. Now, every year, the Ohio chapter hosts multiple Early Thanksgiving Dinners for foster care youth and alumni.
LEVELS OF CONNECTION: Membership in Foster Care Alumni of America connects people in and from the foster care system with a lifelong community, linking them with national resources and mentorship opportunities.
Foster care alumni share the same parent: the state. During our time in foster care, while we moved from one place to another, we weren't always able to build long-term emotional connections.
Over 1,000 young people age out of the Ohio foster care system each year. They deserve to be supported on their journey to adulthood.
In the same way that older siblings might provide encouragement and guidance, older foster care alumni have much to share with our 'younger siblings,' including a passion to support their dreams and goals.
Meet Our Officers
Rather than being led by one president, our chapter is led by two chairs. This is because we believe that a collective voice is vitally important in all aspects of our organization.
The majority of our officers are former foster care children:
1.) Communications Chair: Lisa Dickson serves as lead spokesperson for the chapter in terms of outreach and policy. She oversees chapter communications, including newsletters and website development, and maintains chapter records, such as the membership roster and volunteer hours.
2.) Operations Chair: Doris Edelman serves as Operations Chair. She ensures chapter compliance to national policies and procedures, and takes charge of finance projects such as fund-raising, and annual projects like the FCAA Family reunion.
3.) Media Spokesperson: Adrian McLemore represents the Ohio chapter to the local media. He is responsible to be prepared discuss current initiatives and provide accurate quotes.
4.) Legislative Liaison: Alexander McFarland stays informed about foster care news and advocacy areas in Ohio, and works with FCAA allies to help devise advocacy strategy. He schedules legislative visits and coordinates public testimony as needed.
5.) Youth Outreach Coordinator: Dauntea Sledge reaches out to the alumni of tomorrow, enlisting youth insight in order to influence the Ohio chapter's priorities and strategies. This includes supporting the development of youth advisory boards, and equipping teenagers in group homes and residential experiences with the life skills and resources to navigate young adulthood.
6.) Cultural Liaison: Cieria Rodriguez-Toney focuses on cultural issues pertaining to foster care youth and alumni, including the Culture of Foster Care. Her advocacy areas include citizenship barriers for curent and former foster youth, and the need for foster families to be aware of and respectful of the cultural heritage of youth in their home.
7.) Adoption Liaison: This representative is in charge of resource development and advocacy efforts having to do with adoptees. This includes ongoing collaboration with NACAC, American Adoption Congress and Adoption Network Cleveland regarding sibling visitation, adjustment to adoptive families, and birth certificate access.
Allies and Partnering Organizations
We believe in a collective voice and collaboration between agencies.
FCAA Ohio Ally members include:
- Kim Asamoah Ansah, Columbus Minority Business Association
- Vanita Nevis, ODD Entrepreneurship and Small Business Division
- Melissa Lindsay, Ohio Poverty Law Center
- Val Bairnsfather, Randy Lewis and Penny Wyman
FCAA Ohio Alliy organizations include:
- Adoption Network Cleveland
- Beech Acres
- Berea Children's Home and Family Services
- Cincinnati Coalition of Care
- Cincinnati Works
- Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
- Focus on Youth
- Lighthouse Youth Services
- Montgomery County Children Services
- National Council of Jewish Women ~ Cleveland Section
- National Youth Advocate Program
- Nirvana Now
- Ohio Association of Child Caring Agencies
- Ohio CASA
- Ohio Child Welfare Training Program
- Ohio Family Care Association
- Ohio State Bar Foundation
- Ohio Supreme Court
- Pressley Ridge
- Public Children's Services Association of Ohio
- Village Network
- Youth Empowerment Program