A new national survey commissioned by two Virginia nonprofits found that youth aging out of foster care need more services as gaps in current assistance leave many vulnerable youth to fend for themselves.
According to an article by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “the 22,400 children who turn 18 and age out of state foster care systems across the country annually without a permanent family face grim prospects: Within two years, about one in four wind up incarcerated, one in five become homeless, four in 10 drop out of high school and 71 percent become parents by age 21.”
The survey, conducted by the national nonprofit Child Trends and the Better Housing Coalition, discovered that the increased number of youth transition out of youth are receiving “spotty services” that leave them vulnerable.
This is especially problematic, according to the article, because three in four youth voluntarily leave the foster care system before the maximum allowable age nationally.
“While many states offer support for youth aging out of foster care, this study shows that there is much room for improvement,” Elizabeth Jordan, director of policy communications and outreach at Child Trends, said in a release.
The study determined that “post-secondary education; employment and career development; financial well-being; safe, stable and affordable housing; access and management of health and mental health care; and permanent relationships with supportive adults” are the most important factors in making sure foster youth exiting care succeed. These are the exact same factors, according to the story, that any adult leaving home needs for success.
To read the complete Richmond Times-Dispatch article about how youth aging out of foster care need more services, click here.
To read the full Child Trends report, click here.