Chris Nixon has resided in the home of Dorothy Cordero for the past six years. They were referred to me through KidsPeace, a private charity dedicated to serving the behavioral and mental health needs of children, families and communities. I interviewed them together for The Teen Toolbox National Foster Care Awareness blog series on teen males in the foster care system. Because both of Chris and Dorothy had such great insight and were hopeful their story would help other families, I will share their stories separately.
Chris will age out of foster care when he turns 21 years old this June. He decided to remain in care after age 18 so that he could receive continued support while working and attending college. As I was sharing my purpose for dedicating our May blogs to teen males (and possibly preparing to share statistics) Chris unexpectedly shared with me that “youth who exit the system at age 18 are at higher risk of ending up homeless, in jail, or much worse.” Obviously, Chris is very driven and did not come to the decision to remain in care without careful consideration. He believes that choosing to stay in foster care instead of exiting the system at 21 allows youth extra time to achieve the goals that they otherwise might not be able to achieve.