When most people think of foster care, they think of young children being taken from a home and placed with a temporary foster family. Most forget about the older children who are aging out of the system daily. What is being done for these kids? Is it enough?
For one young man, growing up in the foster system was difficult. DeAndre was placed in foster care when he was young. He was in and out of the system growing up and eventually stayed in foster care from the age of 13 until he aged out at 19 years old. When he aged out of the foster care system, he became homeless for a while. He had no support system. DeAndre stated in a local news article by CBS Denver that “Any normal child has their parents to fall back on. When you release foster care kids, we have nothing to fall back on.”
Fortunately, DeAndre found Urban Peak, an organization that helped him get a plan for his life. DeAndre now will soon become an EMT thanks to their guidance. There are not many organizations like Urban Peak to help the youth that are aging out of foster care. DeAndre was one of those children desperately in need, and with the right help, he overcame a potentially negative outcome. According to this article on Adoption.com, “Twenty percent of youth who were in foster care will become instantly homeless upon aging out.”
Other statistics are equally alarming. Another statistic from that same adoption-related article stated, “Only one out of every two older youth will have employment by the age of twenty-four.” Thankfully, DeAndre defied the statistics and found a career and field that he is passionate about, but too many of these youth do not. Stability and resources are critical for the success of these young adults.
Once DeAndre completes his training and becomes an EMT, he wants to help others. He hopes to become a foster parent one day himself. Why? “I want to help other kids aging out of foster care. It really wasn’t a childhood.”