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Literature Review

Housing Youth Aging out of the Foster System

Children aging out of the foster system face many challenges and hardships as they transition into adulthood. However, the foster care system is supposed to provide the best programs and resources for these children in which some cases they often don’t. Our topic is How does aging out of the foster care system affect youth in housing accommodations? As a group we are trying to find why youth are often overlook once they reach the “aging out age”, why it is that some youth go back and forth through many foster cares without finding a home that fully feels their needs. As well as coming up with way to make sure that the youth are not being left without the proper resources to carry out successful futures. The following articles shows emphasis on the resources that are required to be given to youth aging out of the foster system, and how youth fall victim to not receiving the best resources to transition out of the foster system.
Children usually “age out” of foster care when they turn 18 years old, the age of emancipation in most states. However, there’s no set age that marks the end of foster care. Federal guidelines require states to assist children during their transition from foster care to independence, beginning as early as the state agencies find appropriate, and in some cases as early as age 13 (Reuters, 2015).
Aging Out
When children cannot return home to their families, child welfare systems must move quickly to find them alternative homes. As time goes by, the prospects for landing in safe, loving, permanent homes grow dimmer for foster youth. Many will simply “age out” of the system when they turn 18, without a family and without the skills to make it on their own.
In 2013, more than 23,000 young people— whom states failed to reunite with their families or place in permanent homes — aged out of foster care, simply because they were too old to remain (Children’s Bureau, 2014). Of the 402,000 children in foster care, more than 19,000 had case goals of emancipation, or aging out after leaving foster care without a permanent family (Children’s Bureau, 2014). The percentage of youth that age out of foster care increased, from 8 percent in 2003, to 10 percent in 2013 (Children’s Bureau, 2014). Youth who age out of foster care are less likely to graduate from high school and are less likely to attend or graduate college (Vorhies, 2011). By age 26, approximately 80 percent of young people who aged out of foster care earned at least a high school degree or GED compared to 94 percent in the general population (Vorhies, 2011). By age 26, 4 percent of youth who aged out of foster care had earned a 4-year college degree (Vorhies, 2011), while 36 percent of youth in the general population had done so (Children’s Rights, 2014).

Emotional Attachment
According to Lindsey Getz, Aging out of the Foster care article, some of the responsibility for preparing children to leave foster care must fall on foster parents, says Washington. “The issue [of aging out] needs to be addressed earlier on so that the foster child can start to prepare (Getz, 2012). When the child turns 18, they may come home from school and their foster mother might tell them, without the funding, they can’t stay there any longer (Getz, 2012). They haven’t been prepared for the aging out process and suddenly that security blanket is gone. What do they do? Many might turn to drugs or to the street. What do you do when suddenly you’re lost in the atmosphere feeling like nobody cares about you or your well-being any longer?”

We believe that protecting the children in foster care should be the main concern. It is very important that we address the mental health and needs of the young children within the system. The child’s need for a continual relationship and the need for responsive care should definitely be considered when placing children. People often think that putting a child in foster care will however make things better for a child especially if they have been abused and neglected in their own homes. Foster care is definitely not a cure for that because even after being placed, the child will still feel the pain they endured prior upon entering into the system.
Foster care can however with proper placement, provide a safe and nurturing environment that will encourage self-growth and self-achievement. The ultimate goal of foster care placement is reunification with the family. Various plans must be implemented so that this goal can be achieved. While being in the system, the children from ages 14-24 should receive various services and programs that will help them become better prepared when they do age out of the system. This will help them better their knowledge when they do have to face society. Letting these children age out without having them be aware of basic foundations is very unacceptable. These children who age out at 18 aren’t ready for the world and for them to transition into adulthood at such a young age without programs and services as well as a place they can live to help them is crazy. There needs to be a path of renewal and ensure a more hopeful and brighter future for all children in foster care.

Children’s Bureau. (2014, Juy). Retrieved from The AFCARS Report: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/afcarsreport21.pdf
Children’s Rights. (2014). Retrieved from Defending America’s Abused and Neglected Kids: http://www.childrensrights.org/newsroom/fact-sheets/aging-out/
Getz, L. (2012, April). Aging out of Foster Care. Retrieved from Social Work Today: http://www.socialworktoday.com/archive/031912p12.shtml
Reuters, T. (2015). Aging out of Foster Care. Retrieved from http://family.findlaw.com/foster-care/aging-out-of-foster-care.html
Vorhies, V. (2011). Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster youth: Outcomes at age 26. Retrieved from http://www.chapinhall.org/sites/default/files/Midwest%20Evaluation_Report_4_10_12.pdf

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