Aging out of Foster Care often ends poorly

Opinion Piece

If one good thing can be said about the substance abuse crisis in our country, it is that it has put a new focus on its innocent victims: foster children.

heart broken storms in lifeIn 2019, the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services took custody of 13,800 children, with the vast majority of those coming from homes where neglect or substance abuse was an issue.

But while the stories of these children are often unspeakable, their futures aren’t much brighter either. Many of these kids are in state custody until they become young adults – bouncing from foster home to foster home.

But if we are to prevent the cycle of foster care from repeating, we have to address the problem of what to do with foster kids once they age out of care. Since most have moved from one foster placement to another, they have no close relationship with an adult who can encourage them. Nor do they have the financial means to complete their education, go to college or technical school to support themselves.

They also lack life skills to make it in the real world. They aren’t sure how to look for a job, where to find a place to live or how to navigate the challenges of everyday life. Most come from extended families who are also dysfunctional.

About 700 foster kids age out and leave state custody each year in Georgia. Life becomes a daunting challenge for them, and few ever make it on their own. Instead, most follow in their parents’ footsteps in a very short period of time…

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