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Federal delegation tours Ohio Reach grantee Columbus State

Federal delegation tours Ohio Reach grantee Columbus State

Columbus State Community College entertained a distinguished group of visitors from the federal government Sept. 18, including Rafael Lopez, the newly appointed Commissioner of the federal Administration on Children, Youth and Families.

Columbus State’s Scholar Network is one of four grant recipients of Ohio Reach’s new mentoring program to help former foster youth succeed in higher education. The purpose of the visit was to promote how beneficial such a mentoring program and a broader scholar network can be for former foster youth. Discussion focused on the needs of Ohio’s foster youth while in care and as they emancipate from care.

Other special guests from Washington included Johan Uvin, Acting Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE); Carmen Drummond, Acting Chief of Staff for OCTAE; and Isabel Soto, Confidential Assistant for OCTAE. Their visit was coordinated by Kimberly Rhyan, director of student engagement and leadership at Columbus State and co-chair of the Scholar Network.

The group covered topics ranging from IV-E refinancing and extending age eligibility for services, to educational supports for foster youth and early warning signs to keep children out of care. State and foundation partners also participated, including Dan Shook (Ohio Department of Job and Family Services), Julia Harrison (Franklin County Children Services), Crystal Ward Allen (Casey Family Programs), Briana Hervet (Ohio Department of Higher Education), and Angela Sausser (PCSAO). Also on the table: youth homelessness, the need to more clearly define “medical necessity,” juvenile justice, and kinship care.

Following a tour of the campus, the group broadened to include Columbus State’s president and key staff, who highlighted the Scholar Network and how vital community partners are to supporting students.