Established in 1986, the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program serves as the statewide in-service training system, equipping child welfare professionals in each of Ohio's 88 counties to achieve high levels of competency and exemplify "Best Practices" in their services to children and families.
Youth Engagement Committee
Beginning in April 2008, Charlotte Osterman began facilitating meetings of a Youth Ad Hoc Committee. This initiative was inspired by the growing accomplishments of Ohio's statewide foster youth advisory board, the OHIO YAB, and by the positive reception received in March 2008, when OCWTP's annual Trainer event included a youth panel.
During their first meeting, the committee defined its partners, its purpose and its goals. The overall purpose, which has remained unchanged, is to better incorporate the voices of those who have experienced foster care firsthand into Ohio child welfare training.
The Youth Engagement Ad Hoc Committee was created to advise and provide leadership to the OCWTP Steering Committee on active foster care youth and alumni participation in the training system. The Committee supports the empowerment of youth and alumni to become effective self-advocates and educators of resource families and child welfare workers. The Committee values first-hand experience in the foster care system and believes these voices can enhance OCWTP training and support foster care best practice.
Membership on the committee will include, but not be limited to: OCWTP representatives from ODJFS; RTCs, and the state training coordinator; at least one youth/alumni who has experience in the foster care system, and representatives of invited foster care organizations. Periodically, the committee will determine whether all needed representatives are at the table. The opinions of key informants will also be obtained on an issue-by-issue basis.
1. Determine the most effective and efficient way to engage foster care youth/alumni in the training system
2. Determine criteria for youth/alumni presenters (i.e. age requirement; application process; interview process; attendance at TOTs; transportation access; speaking skills; etc.)
3. Recommend remuneration
4. Recommend additional supports that youth may need in order to assure their participation
5. Determine the training role: Will they train as co-trainers only, or can they train alone? Under what circumstances?
6. Determine whether youth will train standardized curricula or will the OCWTP solicit specialized workshops prepared by youth? How will these workshops be approved?
7. Determine what liabilities are created for the OCWTP, the state, the county or the youth by engaging youth as trainers for the system?
8. Decide how the OCWTP will respond to youth/alumni trainers who desire to train but who are in crisis or who are struggling with the trauma associated with their histories.
In January 2009, Lisa Dickson, Communications Chair of the Ohio chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America, entered into contract with OCWTP to conduct a national survey of existing programs that enlist foster care youth/alumni as child welfare trainers. In that capacity, she designed this website and contacted representatives from each program.
Listed in alphabetical order by last name, with links to their representative agencies:
● Jeanne Bennet, Northeast Ohio Regional Training Center
● Tracey Brichacek, North Central Ohio Regional Training Center
● LeRoy Crozier, ODJFS
● Lisa Dickson, OH chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America
● Kelley Gruber, Institute for Human Services
● Julie Hayden, Northeast Ohio Regional Training Center
● LaDonna Johnson, Southwest Ohio Regional Training Center
● Charlotte Osterman, Institute for Human Services
● Judy Qualls, Licensed Foster Parent and OCWTP Trainers
● Mary Anne Robinson, Montgomery County DJFS
● Angie Rogers, Central Ohio Regional Training Center
● Kristin Townsend, Western Ohio Regional Training Center
● Lois Tyler, Institute for Human Services