The Power of a Voice – Sen. McGill thanks youth for sharing their perspectives on the foster care system

“Your voice does matter to state senators, and your voice CAN make a difference.”

These powerful words were spoken by Senator Amanda McGill in her modernized version of a thank you card to the more than 100 youth who participated in statewide focus groups and/or responded to surveys about an extended services and support to 21 program this summer.

Such a program would support youth who age out of foster care as they enter adulthood by offering services such as housing assistance, client-directed case management, and Medicaid coverage in a young adult-directed, developmentally appropriate way.

Senator McGill put social media into action by utilizing well-known, well-loved, and, more important, teen-approved YouTube to thank these participants for their feedback and provide them with an update on the status of LR 537, the interim study assessing the need for and possible impact of a program that would extend services and support to the age of 21.

Youth feedback and suggestions for this potential program will be shared with the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee at the public hearing for LR 537 on Thursday, October 25, 2012.  Contact your state senator and let them know supporting these young Nebraskans is important to you.  Find your state senator here.  If you would like more information on the Oct. 25 hearing, please contact Appleseed’s Amy West at

Until then, Senator McGill said it best in her message to the young people: “Let your voice be heard!  That’s the only way to truly make a difference.”

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