In 2014, 22,392 youth emancipate* — or "age-out"— from the foster care system when they reach age 18 or finish high school. (Some states have extended care through the ages of 20 or 21.) Youth in foster care often do not get the help they need with high school completion, employment, accessing health care, continued educational opportunities, housing and transitional living arrangements. Studies of youth who have left foster care have shown they are more likely than those in the general population to not finish high school, be unemployed, and be dependent on public assistance. Many find themselves in prison, homeless, or parents at an early age.
1 in 4 will end up in the justice system – males 4x more likely to commit a crime, females 10x more likely to commit a crime. 7x more likely to develop drug dependency.
Less than 2 percent will graduate college by age 25. Seventy-one percent of young women become pregnant before they reach 21, according to the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, a St. Louis-based foundation. Each cohort of young people leaving foster care costs society an additional $8 billion in welfare, Medicaid, lost wages and incarceration costs compared to people of the same age who were not in foster care, according to the Jim Casey initiative.
There are nearly 12,000 foster children who age out annually in Texas and 3,000 in the Dallas Fort Worth area. Roughly 1,500 foster youth leave the states care without a permanent home or family to help them transition to independent adulthood. As a result foster children who reach adulthood before finding a permanent home face heightened rates of homelessness, incarceration, joblessness, teen pregnancy, poverty and mental illness.
On issues facing foster children aging out our elected officials should be dealing with the issues of instability, lack of education, mentorship, homelessness, incarceration, pregnancy, and mental illness. 70% want to attend college only 2% receive a college degree.
In 2015 a little over 4 million dollars was allotted to foster care system. Yet the youth aging out still need ongoing support and direction to thrive. Allowing foster children aging out to fall through the cracks represents lost potential, economic and social expenses for years to come.
Youth in foster care that are transitioning to adulthood tend to find that losing support can be a major barrier to success due to responsibilities and circumstances occurring immediately.
We believe it is our social and moral responsibility as a non - profit organization to be a bridge to opening doors of information for direction, confidence and hope on behalf of our aging out youth and closing the doors on hopelessness.