First and foremost, to the beautiful and deserving young people in Philadelphia’s child welfare, juvenile justice, and behavioral health systems, I see you, I honor you, and it is my mission to make sure your voice, experience, and truth, rings through this wonderful city I love and call home. To the families working hard to provide love and support to their children despite life’s challenges, you are not alone. It takes a village and I aim to prove that this office is a home in that village. To the city of Philadelphia, history will look back on how we nurtured and cared for our most vulnerable young people, let us show everyone what it looks like to invest in our youth and create pathways for brighter more prosperous futures.
Due to large scale systemic issues that many of our city agencies are working very hard to fix, Philadelphia sends young people into congregate care at staggering rates with a disproportionate number of those youth being black and brown. Youth who are placed in residential treatment facilities have often experienced previous trauma such as physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, community violence, and loss. These are all of our children, and they deserve healthy, high-quality, effective healing. There is no room for abuse, maltreatment, or poor service delivery of any kind. It is the OYO’s mission to provide independent, alternative, oversight to ensure our children receive healing without harm.
Lastly, thank you! Thank you to the youth and advocates for fighting for this office and role to exist. Every time you have lifted your voice a change has come. I will work to deliver the outcomes you hope and believed this role could bring.
Tracie Johnson, Esq.