Approximately 20,000 youth age out of foster care every year without a permanent family. Other youth are discharged from foster care before the age of age 18 and reunite with their biological families. Their family connections are often weak and these young people may quickly find themselves without a stable place to live. Another group of young people run away from foster care before they reach adulthood. The bottom line is that teens in foster care have experienced numerous hurts and face a variety of obstacles. Many have missed out on the guidance and skill building needed to successfully transition into adulthood.
Teens in foster care often require a combination of services to become productive, self-sufficient adults — mental health services, life skills, mentoring, employment preparation, educational support, housing, and medical coverage. If we continue to wait until they are standing at the exit door or months away from “aging out” to intervene, we will continue to have thousands of young people exit care unprepared for life on their own. I believe that all young people who spend time in the foster care system after age 14 or the traditional age of a high school freshman should receive special attention, training, and support. We can do it!!!
A Platform For Teen Males in Foster Care
May is National Foster Case Awareness Month. The Teen Toolbox is opening our blog as a platform to spread inspiration and hope by highlighting the stories (successes and challenges) of teen males in the foster care system. We invite you to SHARE YOUR STORY. If the difficulties of life in the foster care system have not prevented you from achieving your goals or helping others move forward and you would like to be interviewed for a blog that will be released during National Foster Care Awareness Month please contact me at: NickiATtheteentoolboxDOTcom for additional information.
We want to hear from:
Nicki Sanders, MSW, Chief Visionary Officer
Being removed from your home is always stressful. Youth in foster care often have few personal belongings and carry the items they do have in trash bags as they are shuffled from place to place. Very often sheer survival is the ultimate goal.
As a society, we stereotype all teens as difficult, selfish, or obnoxious. Teens in the foster care system carry an added burden of past abuses, disappointments, and fears. Teens in the foster care system need extra support and stability in order to overcome their past and thrive but older youth are more likely to be placed in institutional placements like group homes. These placements are the least family-like environments and don’t usually allow a teen to form strong bonds with reliable adults.
Foster Care Statistics from the AFCARS Report for FY 2010: