HELP TEENS WHO ARE AGING OUT OF FOSTER CARE
According to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) FY 11 data through September 30, 2011:
- September 30, 2011 = 400,540 children in foster care
- September 30, 2011 = 31,101 youth aged seventeen years old in foster care
- September 30, 2011 = 29,264 youth aged sixteen years old in foster care system
Every child deserves a safe, loving home and the opportunity to develop permanent life-long connections. Many times this right is not a reality for children and youth who have found themselves in the foster care system due to neglect, abuse, abandonment, and other challenges. Teens in foster care face additional obstacles and need extra support and stability in order to overcome their past and thrive.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Older youth are more likely to be placed in institutional placements like group homes. Institutional placements are the least family-like environments and don’t usually allow a teen to form strong bonds with reliable adults.
- Youth who age out of foster care without a permanent family generally have little guidance and no safety net to assist them when they are no longer eligible to receive benefits from their state.
- The trauma and disruptions they have experienced often leave teens that age out of care at higher risk of unemployment, poor educational outcomes, health issues, early parenthood, long-term dependency on public assistance, increased rates of incarceration, and homelessness.
- Youth in foster care often have few personal belongings and many carry the limited number of items they do have in trash bags as they are shuffled from place to place.
The Teen Toolbox sponsors two annual events to raise awareness about the issues faced by youth aging out of foster care and to show teens that someone cares:
(1) PACK A PURSE DRIVE™ – collects and distributes purses filled with personal hygiene items to teen girls in foster homes, groups homes and homeless shelters each December to celebrate the holiday season and the end of the year.
(2) PACK A BACKPACK DRIVE™ - collects and distributes backpacks with personal hygiene items to teen males in foster homes, group homes and homeless shelters each May during National Foster Care Awareness Month.
- New or clean, gently-used purses and backpacks in dark or solid colors.
- Toothbrushes * Toothpaste * Mouthwash * Soap * Hand Sanitizer * Body Wash * Lotion * Powder * Deodorant * Shampoo * Conditioner * Comb * Brush * Shaving Items * Lip Balm
YOU CAN GET INVOLVED by making financial or material donations to the projects, volunteering to sort and package donations, or organizing a collection site in your community. Contact us for additional details.