Congressional Roundtable on Court Reform
So yesterday was interesting to say the least. I was at the our nations capitol participating on a panel called the "Congressional Roundtable on Court Reform". It went very well, they were actually able to appropriate money for reform on this issue. 100 million in fact for training in courts and $ to help build a case tracking system for youth to assess outcome.
It was surreal sitting directly across from Delay, considering what's happening politically with him. I will say in his defense though, he has done a LOT to advance the foster care issue so you have to take the good with the bad on this one.
It was a fascinating experience to have set at the congressional roundtable as an foster youth alumni and a professional in my field. The general sense I felt from the roundtable is that professionals in the field want more funding but Congress needs to see results from where this money is applied. Why? Accountability of course, after reading the office of GAO's report on Health and Human Services and the Chafee program it is certainly understandable. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d0525.pdf
I felt that I contributed well speaking about how HHS need to be evaluated using business practices. HHS is producing a product, that product is the foster youth of America. I was also able to speak on my personal experience as an ETV program coordinator. My main point was that the ETV program has been going for 3 years and yet we have not results yet on how its being administered, of course OFA is doing an amazing job but I am scared to think of how the other states are doing.
My last point was speaking on the importance of Court Appointed Special Advocates, I shared my personal story of how much of a difference my CASA made in my life.
Overall it was an excellent experience, a new trend is starting where former foster youth alumni are taking position in DHS and government that allows for change and they are being regarded as experts on the issue more and more.
I talked to the placement office today after being medically cleared. They said they should review my application for placement by mid to late July. That means I am leaving OFA without a real guarantee that I will receive a placement in Peace Corps. Argggh!
If I Peace Corps does not pan out I am going to look into the JET program through Japan. http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/jet/outline.html