California has failed foster children aging out of the system, along with every other state in our nation. Why does this seem to be acceptable by society? Do we care enough to address the crisis that foster children are disregarded?
When our children turn the “ripe old age” of 18, do we show them the door, while telling them to have a nice life? I do not know of parents that do this to their children. As society we allow this to happen to thousands of children a year.
When someone turns 18 years old is this the magic age of responsibility when she can make life changing decisions? When I was 18, I was thinking about what I would be doing with my friends, about dating. At that age I cannot imagine making major decisions about my life while trying to care for and support myself.
We as members of society, foster parents, social workers, and all other parties involved with foster children are failing the children that are aging out of the system miserably. They are facing life without knowledge of how to care for, support, find employment, continue education and choose their path in life for themselves.
The facts of what is happening:
- There is very limited transitional housing for teens that age out.
- Teens suffering from serious mental illnesses and take required daily medication are left without the means to get medical attention or their medications.
- A large number of teen through out our nation are eligible to receive SSI benefits and do not apply. The process should be started before they age out of the system but who is going to be responsible for that, the caseworkers, foster parents, CASA worker, etc?
- These are just a few struggles that they are facing.
The truth is that foster care was not meant to raise children in the system. The goal was to find them a home but that is not what has happened.
California is trying to pass some bills that would help with foster children aging out of the system and falling into a crisis situation. I encourage you to support any new bills and reform that will help our foster children.