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Youth Organize AMP Day on the Hill

amp zoom callYouth from AMP (Achieving Maximum Potential) held their 11th annual AMP Day on the Hill event on Jan. 24 to meet with state legislators and share their 2022 legislative agenda. 

Led by YSS, AMP is an Iowa foster care youth advocacy council that focuses on providing life skills youth need to become healthy, independent adults. Its motto is “Nothing about us, without us!”

“We aim to serve youth by supporting them, teaching them life skills, and giving them a safe space,” said Sarah Wiedenhoeft, AMP Statewide Coordinator. “We also give youth a voice in advocating for themselves.”

As part of this effort, AMP gathers youth input on laws and rule changes, which are used to create an official legislative agenda. During the AMP Day on the Hill event, which was virtual this year due to COVID-19, youth leaders met with state legislators, as well as Kelly Garcia, Director of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS), to share this agenda.  

One of the items on their 2022 legislative agenda was to create an obtainable DHS worker-to-child ratio. AMP Ambassadors Gabriella and Tee brought this issue to light during the event. 

“In order for a DHS worker to properly give good, quality care to DHS youth, they have to be able to have that quality time with them. They can’t do that if they have too many kids,” Gabriella explained. 

Over the years, AMP Day on the Hill has been a success in making change for Iowa’s youth. DHS is currently working on increasing the clothing allowance for foster children, which was a request from last year’s legislative agenda. The request was for $500, but Garcia expressed that she could make that request even higher. 

“The youth are so courageous,” Wiedenhoeft said. “I am so proud of them for speaking up and advocating for children placed in foster care across Iowa.”

See the full AMP 2022 legislative agenda here and watch their video on YouTube.

Learn more about the AMP program. 

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