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Research Backs Need to Help Foster Kids Aging Out of System

July 12th, 2011   No Comments   Aging Out, Foster Care

Foster kids who “age out” or turn 18 and are forced to leave state care face a daunting future. Whether in Florida or elsewhere in the county, they often have faced emotional, physical or sexual abuse. Many lack emotional maturity needed for self-sufficiency. Rarely tasked with handling their own finances, they’re forced to do so soon after release from foster care. Never or rarely having lived on their own, their “independence” comes quickly — often faster than they’ve been prepared to handle. One study found that about 16% of kids aging out will end up homeless.

Various research reveals how unprepared foster kids are for their new-found independence. A groundbreaking 2010 report from the University of Chicago delved deeply into the effects of aging out on former foster care kids.

With the Florida Department of Children and Families and national-wide with state-run organizations charged with protecting foster kids and preparing them for their futures, many kids “fall through the cracks.”

Research shows how vulnerable they are once released from care — and how some organizations are helping with the transition. One report, from the National Alliance to End Homelessness in America 2011, found that that “one in six young adults who age out of foster care is likely to experience homelessness.”

Read this article on National Public Radio about kids aging out of foster care — and efforts to help them.

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