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.
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:
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
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