Building Young Lives
“Aging out” refers to what happens when youth reach a certain age (age 18 in most states) and are no longer eligible for support from the foster care system. Without foster care funding, many youth lose their place to live, health care coverage, connections to supportive adults, and are ill-prepared to support themselves in the adult world.
What do you do when you are 18 and by no fault of your own, you are without a family or support system and you have aged out of the foster care system? Over 20,000 youth in The United States face this situation annually.
Click to watch CNN’s American Morning “Teens aging out of foster care with no home, no job”
“Aging Out” refers to what happens when youth in the Fosterr Care & Relative Care system reach a certain age (18 in Florida & most states) and are no longer eligible for support from their state system. Without such funding, most youth lose their place to live, health care coverage, connections to responsible adults, and are ill-prepared to support themselves in the adult world.
“I turned 18 a month before I graduated from high school. The day after graduation, I was kicked out of my foster home, where I had been living for two years. I was 18, a high school graduate on my way to college in the fall, and I was homeless.” — NICOLE, former foster youth.
Some of the youth residing in the H.O.M.E.S. apartments have experienccd far worse – kicked out of foster “homes”, or by relatives being paid by the state to care for them, on the very day they turned 18, even though they were still in in high school – with only a garbage bag of clothing to call their own or young - literally homeless and without resources. In fact, each of the 25 young adults we house and nurture was homeless, or on the verge of homelessness, upon their arrival at H.O.M.E.S. – some with babies, small children, or younger siblings in tow. Many have been physically and/or sexually abused by various “caregivers” during their young lives. They are desperate for a chance at life!
In 2005, more than 24,000 youth aged out of the foster care system at the age of 18 without connection to a family. This is an alarming statistic, and even though the overall number of children in foster care is decreasing, the number of youth who age-out of the system continues to grow each year.
National statistics demonstrate poor outcomes for youth that have aged out of the foster care system.
- 25% will be incarcerated within the first two years after leaving the system.
- Over 20% will become homeless at some time after age 18.
- Of such youth now over the age of 25, less than 3% earned college degrees, compared with 28% of the general population.
Despite such gloomy outcomes for foster youth - THESE YOUNG PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE TO BECOME A STATISTIC !!
Our TRANSITIONAL INDEPENDENT LIVING (TIL) PROGRAM is designed to help these youth successfully transition into adulthood - becoming self-sufficient and contributing members of our community. We work to break the cycle of child abuse, neglect, imprisonment and other circumstances that deprive children of the stable loving families and home environments they deserve.