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“Aging Out” of the Foster Care System

You may have heard the term “aging out” of the foster care system, but do you know what that really means?

Aging out of the foster care system means that a teenager has turned eighteen while still legally a ward of the state. They reach adulthood alone, without a parent or guardian to guide them. Imagine that you were in this situation. When you had questions, or something went wrong, you had nobody to call for help. This is the sad reality for numerous teenagers who age out of the foster care system every year.

Boy looking at the camera with a serious look on his face as he is "aging out" of the foster care system.

The problem is greater – and much more common – than people think. To allow you a great understanding of a situation, here are a few facts on teens aging out of the foster system:

  • 20,000 teenagers age out of the system every single year.
  • The Children’s Rights Organization tells us that foster children are far less likely to obtain a high school diploma or equivalent compared to their peers.
  • Many children simply stop attending high school after they age out of the system. In many cases, this is simply due to becoming overwhelmed with the vast responsibility of taking care of themselves.
  • Of those foster teenagers who do manage to either graduate or receive their GED, most will never attend college.
  • A frighteningly high number of teens go directly from foster care to living in the streets, says Covenant House.
  • Young women who age out of the foster care system are far more likely to have children of their own by 24.
  • These young adults are much more likely to be arrested, serve jail time, and become addicted to drugs than their peers, states the National Public Radio (NPR).
  • They are also much more likely to rely on welfare like food stamps, cash assistance, and WIC as their only source of income.
  • “Aged-out” teens are TWICE as likely to visit the ER as their peers.

Learn More About Teens “Aging Out” of the System

For information on how you can help the thousands of teenagers currently living in foster care contact us today.