Ms. Annie Ray, Director of Wayne County Department of Human Services was the keynote speaker on Thursday May 29, 2014 as The Center For Urban Youth & Family Development hosted the FCCOFC Northwestern Region meeting at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church. Ms. Ray updated the coalition members on the status of youth in foster care in Wayne County, providing statistics on numbers of youth in care, ages, race, gender and other vital data. She also detailed the various programs and initiatives that have been launched to provide support for youth that are in care and transitioning out of foster care. Also Ms. Tracey McCullough, Education Planning Manager, Wayne County Department of Human Services and Mr. Lavern Robinson, Education Planning Supervisor, Wayne County DHS, presented the Educational Planning Process for YIT/MYOI participants and outlined the various “college assistant” and “transition to adulthood” programs available to youth in and transitioning out of foster care.
Other highlights of the evening included a presentation by Michele Austin, President of Foster Closet, a wonderful program designed for individuals to donated gently used and new items of clothing, furniture, and necessities for redistribution to foster parents and children. She currently operates one facility and will be opening a second location in June. Jennifer Brooks, from Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange shared information about the new “Prayer Cards” being used to spread information about youth available for adoption and other efforts underway to facilitated matches between youth and potential forever families. Trina Richardson, Faith-based Initiative Coordinator, Michigan Department of Human Services and Rev. Kate Thoresen provided updates about congregations across the state in action serving youth in foster care and supporting adoptive parents.
Greater Grace Temple represented by Lynda White and Westminster Church represented by Gail Mason collaborated with CUYFD/Hartford Missionary Baptist Church to co-sponsor the meeting. Several representatives from all three congregations attended the meeting along with members of MYOI/YIT. A big thank you goes out to Ms. Marjorie Bowens and her staff for providing transportation to the event for many of the youth that attended.