CLEVELAND — Certified foster families and caregivers here in Ohio can now get a free one-year membership at the YMCA. It’s all part of the “Ohio YMCA grant” approved by the state department of job and family services.
Half of the membership costs are paid for by job and family services. The remaining amount is covered by the grant.
So far, 14 families have received free memberships in Greater Cleveland, according to Association Membership Director, Kelly Reed.
“We've seen that there's well over 1,500 families in the Cleveland area, if not more,” Reed said. “These are opportunities a lot of these families might not have just because of financial obligations to the others are supporting in their homes… we always look for opportunities to better serve our community and this is a great way to do that.”
Those eligible include certified foster homes, approved kinship caregivers, Bridges participants, and their children.
According to a press release, “To be eligible, certified foster homes must provide the YMCA a copy of the family’s current JFS 01213, “Notice of Approval for Foster Home,” showing the family is currently certified as a foster home. They must also provide a letter from the family recommending a foster care agency on that agency’s letterhead. It must indicate the family is in good standing with the agency/state of Ohio and either the family has had at least one foster care placement within the past 18 months, or the family is a newly certified foster home within the last six months.
To be eligible as an approved kinship home, families must provide a letter from the agency that approved the family on the agency’s letterhead indicating the family is in good standing with the agency and that they have a current kinship child placed in the home. Bridges is a program designed to help former foster youth transition to adulthood.
To be eligible, Bridges participants must provide a copy of the participant’s Bridges Voluntary Participation Agreement showing the participant is enrolled in Bridges and a letter from the Bridges grantee on the grantee’s letterhead indicating the participant is currently enrolled in Bridges.”
For more information, call or visit your local YMCA.