Foster Care Counts recognizes that if each of us gives even a small amount of time, effort, OR MONETARY contribution, we can help to change the life of a youth in foster care. By working together, we can support the families, relatives, and public systems that help to raise and secure the future of our nation’s children.
Who Are Foster Youth?
Foster youth are our nation's daughters and sons. They are our future professors, policymakers and parents. They are children who face challenges and circumstances beyond their control and who deserve a chance to graduate from college, create careers, and someday build families of their own. Foster youth are our youth and we can help make a difference in their lives.
How Did They Get Here?
Children enter foster care when their parents are unable, for any number of reasons, to give them the care they need. The purpose of foster care is to provide temporary living arrangements for children who cannot remain safely at home for various circumstances including neglect, physical and sexual abuse, or parents with drug addictions. The primary goal is to reunite children with their parents whenever possible, but if that isn't possible, the secondary goal is to secure another permanent home, ideally through adoption. Too often, however, these goals are not achieved, and these children are left without any stable family.
How Does Foster Care Impact a Child?
Children who are placed in foster care can spend years moving from one placement to another. This instability alone has negative residual effects on a child - not to mention the trauma caused by a child's removal and separation from their biological parents. The resulting impact ranges from stifled academic achievement to enduring emotional, behavioral and mental health problems. We all know it takes a strong stable home and a community of support to nurture children into their teens, which most foster youth simply don't receive.
Government services supporting foster youth and the families and institutions that care for them, typically end abruptly at age 18 (or 21 in some states, including California), creating acute challenges for young adults who are now faced with having to support themselves. These “transition age" youth (16-24), like most teenagers, will only have a chance to succeed if they get the education and training they need. Most 18-year-olds without a stable family would have a tough time paying for college while supporting themselves - yet this is the situation transition age foster youth face. Because these youth haven't had essential emotional support while growing up, aren't as prepared academically, and are faced with making big decisions on their own, the cards are stacked against them.
Currently, there are over 425,000 children and youth in the foster care system in the United States.
Annually, 26,000 young people age out of the foster care system. We focus on serving the needs of this unique population because of the hardships associated with transitioning out of the foster care system to adulthood.
Where they end up:
HOW do WE LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD FOR OUR FOSTER YOUTH?
Through partnerships with care and advocacy organizations, Foster Care Counts addresses the gaps in service and impediments to success to help boost outcomes for foster youth. We invest our time and resources to ensure foster youth access college or job skills training, succeed in completing programs, and move into jobs that allow them to achieve financial independence. Just a small amount of time, effort, or monetary contribution can help to change the life of a youth in foster care.