The Harsh Reality Behind Aging Out of Foster Care
The harsh reality behind aging out of foster care is complex. Many hold personal beliefs that foster youth at 18 are adults and should be able to just get out in the world and make a life.
We ask you to reflect on your experience after tuning 18. Did your family help you with tuition for college? Maybe you stayed in the family home until you got married. Perhaps, your parents gifted you with a car.
Who did you call for help when being an adult got hard?
Sadly, one out of every five people who age out of the foster care system lack a home when they turn 18. 40% of people experiencing homelessness have been in foster care. So how can we help kids aging out of the foster care system? One was it through, EDUCATION!
Education is Key
By the time foster youth are 24, only half of them will have stable and steady employment. The same percentage develop substance abuse. The uncertainty that many experience while in foster care can often continue into adulthood.
One of the biggest struggles children in foster care deal with is education inequality. From the shock of entering foster care to starting a new school and dealing with the loss of their old life. Staying engaged academically is difficult for foster youth, if not nearly impossible.
Family Fellowship- The Largest Scholarship For Foster Youth
To help support those who’ve experience foster care Together We Rise and the Smith Family started the Family Fellowship. The Family Fellowship is the largest scholarship fund in America for those who’ve experienced foster care. The program is unique because it offers familiar support in addition to academic and financial resources. Family Fellowship Scholar CBB shares her experience,
When I was in high school, a lot of people in the foster care community did not believe that I would amount to anything great. Then, I met you both and you have changed my world as well as how I feel about myself completely. With your aid, your grand support and the support from Together We Rise, I am able to focus on my dreams of becoming an attorney to help others in the criminal justice scene.
The Dream of Education
For many foster youth, they are the first in their family to finish high school. Family Fellow Scholar ZD tells us,
I never imagined that I, the child of people with barely a high school education, would be attending college for free. And yet, here I am and thriving if I may add. My support system has gotten me through the roughest of times. From threats of homelessness to even hearing the words “no” and “you’re aiming too high”, I have faced many obstacles. Regardless of my circumstances, I have always had someone to lean on not only for words of encouragement but also for the truth when I’m being stubborn.
Only 3% of Former Foster Youth Graduate from College
With so few foster youths graduating from college, it is imperative that we continue to support them. Fellow AB comments on how the fellowship inspires her.
Currently, I volunteer at the Buckner PAL program here in Lubbock TX, where I attempt to uplift, validate, and empower foster children to recognize their true ability and potential. I allow for the light that you have lit inside of me to shine through these foster children who are nearing the scary aging out moment. I help to instill hope within these children that they are not alone and that there are people in the world who are willing to assist so they too can lay the groundwork for the next generation as I am attempting to do one small steps at a time.
In conclusion, we hope you can join us in bringing educational resources to those who are aging out of the foster care system. This year for Giving Tuesday, all donations go towards supporting the Family Fellowship. Learn more about the program here.