Foster Care: Is the Job Complete on Youths’ 18th Birthdays?

Last April I posted that Florida Kids Leaving Foster Care at 18 May Get More Help.

Actually, the premise of helping foster kids beyond the day they turn 18 is taking hold in at least 17 states across the nation, spurred by organizations advocating on behalf of some 24,000 teenagers who age out of foster care in this nation each year.

Various states are now offering programs that run the gamut from extending foster care in its entirety through the age of 21 instead of 18, to providing housing, education, medical care, money and/or mentoring beyond foster kids’ 18th birthdays.

Youth advocates point out that most young adults in the US are not prepared to fend for themselves on their 18th birthdays – and foster kids are even less prepared by virtue of being raised in foster care.

That’s why so many end up in jail, shelters and unrelenting poverty.

Preliminary studies support the belief that extending stays in foster care improves young people’s outcomes upon release.

But one young person lamented that he was not benefited by others taking too much care of him rather than raising him to care for himself.

Read more in this New York Times article: Offering Help for Former Foster Care Youths.