Nearly 20,000 foster care teens "age-out" of the foster care system each year. Once they reach 18, their state and foster families are no longer required to give them assistance. They are left to fend for themselves.
Unfortunately, many foster care teens don’t have the support and life skills necessary to live on their own. Foster care studies have shown that, in just four years after leaving foster care, 25 percent of "aged-out" youth become homeless, 42 percent have children of their own, fewer than 20 percent are able to support themselves, and only 46 percent graduated from high school. Without the support systems most young adults take for granted, aged out foster care teens face a higher risk of substance abuse, domestic violence, and poverty.
With just a few hours of your time, you can help foster care teens successfully enter the adult world.
Supporting Youth in Foster Care - Child Welfare Information Gateway - Resources on supporting youth while they remain in foster care seeking permanent families.
Youth Aging Out of Foster Care - Connect For Kids
Casey Family Programs - Improving Outcomes for Older Youth In Foster Care
Enhancing Permanency for Older Youth in Out-Of-Home Care (A Bulletin for Professionals) - Finding permanent families for older children and youth in out-of-home care continues to need support from foster care workers and other child welfare professionals.