Every year, about 20,000 to 22,000 young people exit or “age out” of the foster care system, typically at age 18. The system, and whatever it provided, simply disappears. These youth are on their own, virtually penniless, with no place to call home. How do former foster care children fare as adults? Four years after “aging out” of the system:
- 25% have been homeless;
- less then half have graduated from high school;
- 42% have become parents themselves; and
- more than 80% are unable to support themselves.
A recent study found that adults who have been in foster care suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder at twice the rate of US combat veterans, and more than half experience serious mental health problems.
– Association of Small Foundations