Helping Youth Aging Out of Foster Care
What would you do if you were aging out of foster care? Most people would respond to that, “What does aged out mean in foster care?” Unfortunately, the issues surrounding youth aging out of foster care are very under-recognized, especially considering that about 20,000 age out every year in the United States. That’s why so many of these youth are under-supported. We’ll explain what aging out means & how to help youth aging out of foster care.
We’ll also share what we are doing to help these young adults. Helping youth aging out of foster care is our mission here at Finally Family Homes!
What does aged out mean in foster care?
Aging out in foster care means a young adult is leaving the system without ever having found a forever home or family. It can be a heartbreaking time for a young adult, as most believe this is the end of their chance for a family they can call on and count on. They can feel like the world is crashing in on them and the future looks bleak. Most often this happens when youth turn 18.
Aging out of Foster Care in California
Every year about 4,000 youth are aging out of foster care in California. Not only do they face the heartbreak of being in the system, but they face exceptional challenges to survive on their own with the affordable housing crisis.
Fortunately, there is some help in California. We highlight some options here, especially for youth in the Los Angeles area. Los Angeles is home to the largest foster care system in the nation and the largest unsheltered homeless population. About 1,000 young adults from foster care sleep on the streets of Los Angeles on any given night. There’s not enough help. That’s why we formed Finally Family Homes here, to help youth aging out of foster care.
What are the challenges facing youth transitioning out of foster care?
If you want to know how to help youth aging out of foster care you must first understand some of the unique challenges they face.
Housing usually tops the list of challenges for most youth aging out of foster care, especially in California. Feeling lonely, isolated, and without the resources of a supportive community is also a big concern. Many foster youth missed out on learning important life skills as they bounced from home to home and school to school.
You can read more about the statistics and challenges youth face aging out here.
Want to know how we help youth aging out of foster care?
Finally Family Homes partners with youth aging out of foster care to help them achieve lasting success in life.
We build security, belonging, and empowerment to succeed by coming alongside these youth to:
· provide for their basic needs including housing and food
· empower them to build an economic foundation for self-sufficiency
· create healthy relationships in a safe and caring community
We aren’t interested in just helping them to barely survive, We invest in the potential of our youth to achieve an extraordinary life. We empower our youth to break cycles and make a brighter future for themselves and their children.
Our Programs to Help Foster Youth
So how do we achieve our ambitious mission to help youth aging out of foster care? We do it through our carefully crafted programs.
Family Care is our program to show our youth that they are valued members of our family community. We invite them to have dinner together, give gifts, and celebrate their birthdays and accomplishments together.
Host Homes is a proven successful intervention for youth homelessness. We recruit, screen, and train local families who wish to provide an open room and compassionate care to a youth in need.
Life Launch is our life skills coaching program to educate, connect, and equip aging-out foster youth with life skills. We partner with an evidence-informed microlearning program.
Tiny House Ownership is our flagship program to help youth build to own their own tiny homes on wheels. Youth invest their own time and money, gaining valuable job skills in construction and personal equity.
Alumni Support is available to our program graduates. We offer an open door to come back to celebrate the holidays, have someone to talk to, and a place to call in hard times. Permanency and sustainability are important to us.
Finally Family Homes offers youth aging out of foster care a place to call home and people to call family.
Final Thoughts on How to Help Youth Aging out of Foster Care
We truly believe that it’s important to take a holistic approach to helping youth aging out of foster care. These aren’t problems, they’re people. The systems and brokenness of the world are the problems. We’ve met so many fantastic high potential youth who just need some basic needs help and equipping, yes, but even more so, need connection.
And this issue needs recognition! Help get the word out about the struggles these young adults face and the opportunities to help support them.
If you know a youth aging out of foster care, offer a listening ear. Or maybe you can sponsor a youth birthday, graduation, or Christmas gift. You can do it with our family care program.
Maybe you have an extra bedroom. Consider becoming a Host Home! We only take applications from the Santa Clarita area, but Host Homes programs are growing all over the country.
Maybe you have a skill or talent to help – maybe teaching a life skills class or helping us build the tiny homes. Learn more ways to volunteer with Finally Family Homes.
And one of the easiest ways how to help youth aging out of foster care is to invest in their success through giving. Support the work of Finally Family Homes.