When children cannot return home to their families, child welfare systems must move quickly to find them alternative homes. As time goes by, the prospects for landing in safe, loving, permanent homes grow dimmer for foster youth. Many will simply “age out” of the system when they turn 18, without a family and without the skills to make it on their own.
In 2015, more than 20,000 young people — whom states failed to reunite with their families or place in permanent homes — aged out of foster care, simply because they were too old to remain.
In 2015, of the 428,000 children in foster care, more than 17,000 had case goals of emancipation, or aging out after leaving foster care without a permanent family.
Youth who age out of foster care are less likely than youth in the general population to graduate from high school and are less likely to attend or graduate college. By age 26, approximately 80 percent of young people who aged out of foster care earned at least a high school degree or GED compared to 94 percent in the general population.
By age 26, 4 percent of youth who aged out of foster care had earned a 4-year college degree, while 36 percent of youth in the general population had done so.
Here is what happens to most kids who age out of the foster system, until I turned 18 and aged out of system. Overnight, I was homeless, on the streets with no family, no support and nowhere to turn. Eight years under the conservatorship of the State, and this was what it lead me to. I spent the next six months on the streets, sleeping on the roof of a shopping strip at night and relying on the street economy to survive during the day.
This is what Mission Creek Reservation, Village of indians hopes to accomplish with your donations and the age out dorms
Tribal Chairman Lopez agreed that foster children often refuse guidance from their case managers, despite being “reminded constantly” of available transitional programs.
“The services are very much underutilized. Part of that is our youth are the same as any other youth. They’re 18 first – they’re not a foster youth first,” he said. “The things we think are important as adults are not always as important to them.”
Of the 800 children who age out every year, only 200 will take advantage of transitional programming, she said. If at any time former foster care youth find themselves close to eviction, not able to afford groceries or otherwise struggling, they can return to state care until they turn 21.
“They can call whenever they are ready or feel like they need help and say ‘Hey, I need some help’ whether it be with getting a job or ‘I ran out of food and I don’t know what to do,’” said Chairman Lopez
At the Mission Creek Age Out Center , homeless and vulnerable youth can take a hot shower, eat a snack and find temporary reprieve from the beating California sun.
They spend their nights wherever they can. The drainage bottom is a popular spot. Parks around the valley are also a popular place,“Anywhere that they can lie down, where they are out of sight, where they feel safe enough to close their eyes and let themselves fall asleep.”
Mission Creek Age out Center first priority is “their most urgent emotional need, to recover from trauma.” Many children are removed from their homes because of physical abuse, sexual abuse or neglect.
AGE OUT FOSTER TEENAGERS - ADULTS DORMS FOR EDUCATION AND A BRIGHTER TOMORROW