A recent NYT article, Study Finds More Woes Following Foster Care, found that ¼ of young adults aging out of foster care are receiving public aid and about ½ of them are unemployed. Only 6% of these young adults had a college education compared to the 29% of their peer in the general population.
The results of this study reinforce an idea that we talk a lot about at the Homeless Alliance: It is incredibly difficult to escape poverty without strong support networks. Gary Stangler, director of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, captures it well:
“When these kids make a mistake, it’s life altering, they have nothing to fall back on.”
Approximately 300,000 children a year age out of foster care, and as this study indicates, their prospects appear dim. As we think about the implications of this study, it’s imperative that we keep the words of Mark Courtney, lead researcher of the study, in mind:
“We took them away from their parents on the assumption that we as a society would do a better job of raising them (…)We’ve invested a lot money and time in their care, and by many measures they’re still doing very poorly.”
To get an idea of how difficult it can be when you’re starting from scratch with little support, try taking this year’s Buffalo Poverty Challenge.