21 Jun How an 18-Year-Old in Foster Care Celebrates
Do you know how an 18-year-old who has been in foster care in Louisiana celebrates his/her birthday? By being dropped of at a homeless shelter. Even if that young person is in high school and in the middle of senior year, he/she is displaced.
I was shattered to learn this. Only 18 states out of the 50 have applied to extend care to young people in foster care beyond age 18, yet all the research points to most young people needing some sort of parental support until age 26. Why do legislators persist in thinking kids who have been institutionalized in a group home setting (which most teens in foster care are) should magically be ready to be on their own the day they turn 18? As a parent, if I walked into a party and announced proudly that I’d dropped my son off at a homeless shelter so that he could learn to make it on his own the day he turned 18, I’d be vilified. Yet that’s what our states are doing.
We can do better for our nation’s children. In my work with the Orange Duffel Bag Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit that does certified life plan coaching based on a book I co-authored called “My Orange Duffel Bag,” I’ve come across so many stories like this. I am shocked every time when I see how our children are thrown away. A homeless shelter? For a young, vulnerable teen, we are setting them up with a one-way ticket into the sex trade or drug trafficking. More than 70% of our nation’s prison population recount having been in foster care or homeless shelters as children at some point. These life stories are playing out every day. We can do better.
Please connect with me here on this blog, and look into the work we do to help kids aging out of foster care with the Orange Duffel Bag Foundation.
I’d love to hear your thoughts below. Shocked?