High School should be an amazing, unforgettable time for a teenager. Prom, new friends, college applications and graduation are all rites of passage to adulthood. This is not the case for every teenager. Did you know that around 34% of Virginia’s foster care youth is over the age of 12 (3)?
Because these young people do not have communities and stability, the chances of pregnancy, homelessness and substance abuse increases significantly. Additionally, less than 1% even pursue higher education (1). Less than 50% (1) of homeless students graduate high school.
In 2017, there were 2,260 teenagers in the state of Virginia waiting for a foster care placement that were either homeless or living in transitional housing (2). These are not statistics that any young adult deserves to face.
The increased number of teenagers and young adults in foster care is especially important in Virginia, as this state ranks highest in the country for youth aging out of foster care at 21.4% (4). These children, though not fully matured or supported, “age out” of the foster care system and have no permanent family to offer guidance.
Are you ready to step up and make a change?
We know it may be daunting to take on a teenager or young adult, with fears that the advanced age means you cannot have a big impact on their life trajectory. But fostering a teenager can be just as rewarding as fostering a younger child. Teenagers can benefit just as much, if not more, as any other child from a stable, loving and nurturing home.
Put yourself in their shoes. Can you imagine being 18 and having to figure out where to live, how to find a job, and maintain financial stability on your own? Without the support and stability of a family it almost guarantees that these young adults will fail, or at the very least, struggle into early adulthood.
Teenagers who have a family have huge advantages in their path to success in education, the workforce, and becoming financially stable. Imagine the impact you could have by opening up your heart and home to a child over the age of 12.
By working as a community, we can do better by our transitioning youth and help enter into adulthood more prepared.
3. Data Center Kids Count https://www.nn4youth.org/learn/what-happens/
4. Virginia.gov http://vaperforms.virginia.gov/HealthFamily_fosterCare.cfm