Conveniently timed, I was just talking with someone about this issue a couple of weeks ago.
Kids allowed to age out of the foster care system are struggling. I’ve seen similar statistics before, but these are fresh and in spots, pretty discouraging. There’s no escaping the fact that families, and parents in particular, often play a crucial roles in people’s lives well into adulthood. For many this is how they make it through college, raise the seed capital to start a business, find the courage to leave an abusive relationship, or survive those first sleepless nights with their inconsolable newborn. Your parents are the people who help you make bail when you do something stupid, and that alone can make the difference between paying for your crime and ruining your life. (link) For kids in foster care, the state has stepped in, ostensibly to protect the children, but doesn’t currently acknowledge that there is no magic at the age of 18 that eliminates the need for a loving and supportive family.
I’m not actually sure what to do with this problem, the solution is still evolving. But, I am sorely tempted to foster parent myself, in the hopes that I could better understand how to fix the system from the inside…even if only for a small number of young people I could work with directly.