Guide "Aged-Out" Foster Care Teens to Become Productive Adults
Foster care teens need your help to establish happy, productive lives.
After leaving home for the first time, most young adults still rely on their parents for good advice, living skills, and financial help. But, "aged-out" foster care teens have no one to turn to. They have no one to call when they mess up a recipe or get a flat tire. They have no one to listen when they endure a bad breakup or fail an exam. They have no one to support them through their first real job, their first adult relationship, and their first time living on their own.
Approximately 285,000 foster care teens "age-out" of the foster care system or become emancipated each year. Once they leave the system, their state and foster families are no longer required to give them assistance. They are left to fend for themselves.
Unfortunately, many foster care teens don't have the support and life skills necessary to live on their own. Foster care studies show that 25 percent of "aged-out" foster kids must earn a living without a high school diploma or GED. At least 20 percent of have been homeless and fewer than 20 percent are able to support themselves. Nearly a quarter of former foster care children are incarcerated within two years of their emancipation. Because they lack the support systems most young adults take for granted, aged-out foster care teens are at high risk for substance abuse, domestic violence, and poverty.
With just a few hours of your time, you can help foster care teens successfully enter the adult world.
I Did This!
Each of these suggestions can have a big impact on the life of an "aged-out" foster teen. Decide which opportunity to make a difference works best for you.
Be a Mentor
Mentoring gives foster care teens a listening ear and a friend to guide them through their struggles. Mentoring relationships begun while foster care kids are in their mid-teens can be beneficial as the kids become more independent. Consider these mentoring possibilities:
Many foster care teens desire to go to college. But, few have the resources to succeed. Try one of these easy ways to help foster teens succeed in higher education:
Few "aged-out" foster care kids have a car of their own. Rides to medical appointments, job interviews, school functions, and places public transportation doesn't service can be a huge help to these teens. Call your local foster care agency to find out which foster care kids are in need of a ride.
Foster care teens may have lived for years with only a couple suitcases worth of personal belongings. When they begin living on their own, they'll need supplies to set up house. If you want to donate, try one of these options:
Whatever your profession, consider donating your time and talents to help foster care teens. If you're a dentist, provide free or discounted dental care. If you're a copywriter, offer to make brochures asking the community to support foster care scholarship funds. If you're a restaurant owner, distribute gift cards. If you're a banker, help foster teens set up a savings account. If you're a manager, consider hiring foster care teens that may have a hard time finding work. Whatever your talents, please use them to make a difference.
Make a Difference
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