The system is failing too many kids
When children placed in foster care reach the maximum age that a State will support them (18 – 21) without being reunited with their family or placed in a permanent adoptive home, it’s called aging out. Kids who ageout are often kicked out of their foster homes the day they turn 18 without any resources. Most have no supportive adult to help them navigate the challenges of independent living.
20 percent of foster youth will become homeless the day they age out.
Aging Out of Foster Care in California
We decided to establish Finally Family Homes in the Los Angeles area, to be right where the situation for aging out foster youth is arguably the most challenging in the United States.
There are currently over 16,000 youth waiting to be adopted in California.
Every year about 4,000 youth age out of care in California.
In a representative sample of foster youth in California, over one-third of aged-out 19-year-olds experience homelessness and over 40% couch-surf (Courtney et al., 2016).
About 1400 age out in Los Angeles and of those, around 400 become instantly homeless upon aging out.
Aged Out Young Adults Disadvantaged Compared to Peers
“The typical youth—one who does not have a history of abuse and neglect—does not achieve true self-sufficiency until age 26. We know that parents invest a median amount of just under $50,000 on their young adult children after age 18, thus giving their children a chance at becoming productive, self-sufficient adults. Foster youth, on the other hand, are thrust into the world at 18 years of age, with no safety net, and receive on average less than $10,000 of financial assistance—and most of that help goes toward the paltry 3% who manage to buck the odds and obtain a college degree. Most Transition Age Foster Youth receive virtually no financial help as they struggle toward adulthood.”
Facts on Aging Out
- Less than half of all foster youth in California graduate high school.
- Half of youth who have aged out of foster care end up homeless or incarcerated.
- 75% of young women in foster care report at least one pregnancy by age 21, compared to only one third of those in the general population.
- By grade 11, only 20% of students in foster care are proficient in English.
- Only 5% are proficient in math.
- 75% of students in foster care are performing below grade level.
- More than 23,000 children will age out of the US foster care system every year.
- After reaching the age of 18, 20% of the children who were in foster care will become instantly homeless.
- Only 1 out of every 2 foster kids who age out of the system will have some form of gainful employment by the age of 24.
- There is less than a 3% chance for children who have aged out of foster care to earn a college degree at any point in their life.
- 7 out of 10 girls who age out of the foster care system will become pregnant before the age of 21.
- Despite all of the challenges, 70% of foster kids regularly say that they would like to attend college one day.