Foster Kids – Many face homelessness (1 in 5)

Many foster youths face a future of homelessness

You don’t usually associate foster kids with homelessness.  They are taken in, right?  They have foster parents to look after them, right?  It’s not like they are abandoned, right?   Well, not right at all.   The following story illustrates the problem when foster kids grow out of foster care.  There is that point, you see, where they no longer warrant payments to their parents for their care.  They age out and get a small payment (or none at all) that is supposed to get them a foothold in life as an adult.  But at 18, they are really still just kids.

By Sara Steffens, MEDIANEWS STAFF
Article Last Updated: 05/06/2007
Read the rest of this story hereWhen a foster youth becomes homeless, no one social worker, guardian or child welfare department is to blame. Like most states, California has failed to provide an effective safety net for the more than 4,000 children who age out of its foster care system each year.

In ordinary circumstances, young adults count on continued financial and emotional support from their families and are almost never completely on their own after turning 18. The average parent spends $44,500 on a child after he or she becomes an adult, “and that doesn’t include the kid being still in his room at home,” said Robert Fellmeth, executive director of Children’s Advocacy Institute, based at the University of San Diego School of Law.

By contrast, foster youths get a median of $5,000 in public support after aging out of care. “Most kids don’t get anything,” Fellmeth said. “Most kids get zero. (They get) ‘Hit the streets with your clothes in your trash bag.'”

One study says that at least one in five former foster children becomes homeless within a few years of becoming a legal adult. Other research, using broader criteria for homelessness, sets the figure as high as half. In recent years, a number of programs have begun trying to help better prepare foster children for independence.But public and volunteer services remain fragmented, sporadic and largely symbolic, Fellmeth said. “The problem is scale,” he said. “The problem is (lawmakers) want to feel good and not spend the money.” In the face of tough odds, some former foster youths do manage to finish their education and build productive lives, many with the help of service programs.

Foster kids are out there too

If you are interested in articles on homeless youth, there is a link to the right in the blogroll to all homeless youth articles.  For all my posts click on the Front Page link at the top.

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4 responses to “Foster Kids – Many face homelessness (1 in 5)

  1. I’m doing a project on homeless youth and these facts are truly petrifying.

  2. Foster Care has the responsiblity to give children aging out Independent Living Skills…at age 18 adult in care can opt not to take these skill that leads to employment and 6 months rental of an apartment. If they choose to go to college, they recieve free tutition. New Federal law that pass 2 weeks ago, extends Medicaid to age 21 regardless if they opt out of independent living.

    All of that I stated doesn’t take place of not knowing our heritage, the fact or feeling that you have no one. An agency should not be any child’s parent but it is force to if that child’s natural parent is not parenting to state standards and no one adopts the child. My state, and it’s counties do a awesome job trying to get children adopted, however so many children are not.

    As a foster care worker and a foster parent about to adopt a precious 6 month old. Thank you for posting this blog and making people aware that OUR children, in the US need us as well…

  3. Hey!!!I am a foster child in NewZealand !Wow….taking care of our children is important , they are our future!!!I am16 yrs old and believe Foster children are the forgotten children . To all the others Foster kids ,out there ,take care . Don’t give up ,make alife for yourself!!Bles !!!Mwah!!!

  4. I’m considering starting a non-profit to help kids prior to them aging out get on track with vocational training or higher education. I’d like to find them financial sponsors. Anyone with the capacity to help me write a grant proposal, or with stats and info on this segment of the foster child population is welcome to write to me.

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