Help Extend Foster Care Coverage to Age 21

Most 17 year olds can’t wait to turn eighteen. However, there are 30,000 children who will “age out” of foster care when they turn eighteen this year. They may still be excited, but their birthdays will signal the start of their transition into the real world. And these former foster children are expected to take on more responsibility than the average 18 year old. They have to live independently, budget money — often for the first time in their lives — and juggle work and/or education. 

Care2 has just launched a petition urging Governor Schwarzenegger to extend foster care in California till the age of 21, by signing AB 12 into law. 

A recent study by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago shed some light on the fate of young adults (ages 23-24) who had recently aged out of foster care.

  • 16 % of the males in the study were incarcerated
  • 24% of both men and women had been homeless at one point since aging out of foster care. Half of those individuals had been homeless more than once
  • Only 1/3 of participants reported that they felt prepared to live independently at the age of 18. However, 2/3 reported that they felt prepared by age 23/24
  • Only 6% had a two or four-year college degree
  • 48% were currently employed, median earnings for these individuals was $8,000
  • 2/3 of female participants had gotten pregnant since leaving foster care and 60% of males had reported impregnating a partner

While these statistics may seem bleak, 2/3 of participants reported feeling satisfied or very satisfied with their lives as a whole. Despite everything these former foster children faced, they were optimistic about their futures.  However, it is clear these individuals could benefit from an additional three years in foster care. 
Children who stay in foster care until age 21 are:

  • 200% more likely to be working towards completion of a high school diploma
  • 300% more likely to enroll in college
  • 65% less likely to be incarcerated

It is imperative foster parents/caregivers begin to prepare these young adults for the world they will be entering. We encourage all foster youth in California to participate in the Independent Living Program (ILP). This program helps foster youth prepare to age out of the system by helping them find a job, secure money for future education, find housing, and learn other skills necessary for self-sufficiency. We ask Governor Schwarzenegger to give these children a chance for a better future by extending foster care to age 21 in California.

The 500,000 children who currently reside in foster care need your help! Urge Governor Schwarzenegger to sign AB 12 into law!

photo credit: thanks to michi003 via flickr

152 comments

Past Member
Rovena C6 years ago

This law is really about keeping the Federal dollars flowing into the States . The older a kid is the more $ the States get to keep them in FC. No family is perfect and some kids are horribly abused and should be in Foster care, however, the reality is the States are stealing kids from loving but poor homes for Federal $. CPS is a corrupt Government agency with no internal affairs. Go on you tube and hear the heartwrenching stories of desperate parents who are too poor for private legal help. Google CPS, Sex Trafficking, the crimes against low income Americans is astounding. Imagine losing your babies for the State to profit. The Country is SICK. Wake UP!

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Jane R.
Jane R7 years ago

I think the whole system needs an overhaul. It's a shame that the people trusted to give a loving home to a foster child will abuse them. Any time a child complains about treatment they should be removed from that home, and the couple barred from ever having a child placed in their custody again.

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Terry M.
Terry Mckinney7 years ago

People can join the army and be asked to die at 18 for their country.Many places have a drinking age of 18 or 19 and in places where pot is legal i think 18 bis the desired age.A person is an adult at 18 for many very serious reasons but they can't do what life tells them to do in the strongest way.Foolish to once again put ourselves above nature.Freedom of choice or move to a fascist country where you can be told everything from sunrise to sunset.

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M B.
M B7 years ago

Very few 18 yr olds in any background are capable and equipped to be on their own, so yes extend it to 21 that way they have the support that they need.

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jane richmond
jane richmond7 years ago

Foster parents are not all ways in it for the child a few are there for the money they receive. Transferring a child from home to home is psychologically damaging. Find a foster home where the child is happy and well cared for and they can stay until they are well on their feet, 21.

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PricelessBoi P.
PricelessBoi P.7 years ago

Hi my name is Annie Watkins and i live here in Milwaukee WI i have been in fostercare 13 year of my life at the age of 18 i was kicked out of my foster home were i was left with nothing to my name just the thing on my back i had 83 cent in my pocket and all the thing i enter my foster home with i was place in foster care because my mother was on drugs most of her life and my father was no were to be found i was beat as a child goin to bed with nothing to eat beat on for no reason at times locked in room for hour and hour a day so from gettin beat to no eat to getttin rap by my mother boyfriend at the time (mother knowin ) boyfriend was a rapes she would leave me and my 6 sister and 2 bothers home alone with this men and this men would dont (ANY) and everything to use from rape to makin use do oral sex activities on him we would cry out to my mother about the problem but her words would be what have u guys done to him for him to do this to u so at this point in time my childhood was takin away from me at the age of 9 know im just like every other fostercare child lost (Homeless) no were to turn i made it out of school on my own but i what to tell my story to the world because i know there is someone out here that will hear me out and understand my pain (Just lost) were do i turn

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Chavonne Harvey
Chavonne H7 years ago

yes because it's hard to make it straight out of high school, maybe now young adults can go to college and be better prepared in life.

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Diana Smith
Diana Foster7 years ago

I did a background check on these supposed safe foster parents and found the father had 2 DUI's on his record,possession of drug paraphernalia and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and when I brought up the drinking specifically to Child Protective Services(CPS) they said it did not matter if they drink or party as long as my daughter is not doing it and that nobody is putting a gun to my daughter's head and making her drink so even though this man had 2 DUI's on his record which means he was driving while intoxicated and I had to stop my daughter from hanging out with kids that at one point provided her with alcohol so she underage drank CPS still thinks foster parents should be able to dangle this alcohol in front of her and hopefully she won't be tempted to drink like she used to which caused problems in my home because I stopped her from being around that kind of thing.And we still think that supporting this foster care situation is a good idea?These people now get 780 dollars a month for my daughter which I would like to know what is the difference between human trafficking and this?Human trafficking involves the selling of a human to the highest bidder.By the way they are no longer foster parents and they still get 780 a month sometimes more depending on the amount of days in the month.They get 480 a month child support plus 10 dollars a day from the state.So why are they not teaching my child responsibility by getting her to get a job when she is now 17?

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Diana Smith
Diana Foster7 years ago

Lindsey DTSW,so long story short I dedicated my life to raising my daughter,making her my priority while her Dad continued to tell her if she had a relationship with me she could not have one with him.This coming from a man who had a restraining order against him for being violent with another woman in front of my daughter and he pulled her physically in the middle of it,he stood over top of my daughter and instructed her to attack me through e-mails,called state troopers and tried to use them to make me do what he wanted me to do and all the time I stayed out of relationships to protect my daughter from having to deal with anything else,got her in to counseling while not concerning myself with my health or my issues,went back to school online to financially better our situation,never drank,did drugs etc..and because of my daughter's anger towards her Dad and me stopping her from being around drug addicts and underage drinkers she went to her guidance counselor in her new school because she wanted to stay in a school where she had others leading her down a bad path where she forged a bus pass and assaulted another student and she lied accusing me of abuse.She lied to her friends with the cruelest lies anyone could ever tell.She lied about being raped because she snuck off to the same area I stopped her from going to originally and for that CPS without a full investigation removed her and helped her file a false state police report and put her in this supposed safe home.

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Diana Smith
Diana Foster7 years ago

Lindsey DTSW,here is another part of your post I wanted to reply to:Another excellent reason for people to get married before having children - because DHR rarely gets involved in Domestic Relations Court cases, where divorces are always heard, unless a complaint is specifically made to them directly. But for the unmarried, any paternity case, any child support case, and the like are going to be heard in Family Court here. And if I had children there isn't much I wouldn't do to stay out of DHR's way.

Parents: get married. You may not think it matters - but legally it does. It protects you as well as your children in so many ways. I don't care about the supposed 'immorality' of people living together - but those people should care about their own welfare and especially about the welfare of their children.I myself was married when I had my daughter and then until she was 5 but because of the abuse of my ex-husband I got out as you are told to do by many victim advocate groups.To be honest the abuse still continued and my ex continued to use our daughter as a pawn and emotionally and mentally abused us both which is what ultimately destroyed my daughter because the courts refused to protect her from it since this was my daughter's father.They did not care about her best interest only about the abusive father who would withhold food from her and tell her she was a pig when she ate more than what he thought she should.Sorry again I have to continue this post.

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