Support System For Youth Aging Out of Foster Care


An estimated 20,000-25,000 young people age out of the foster care system each year, many without family or economic support.  Research shows that the transition to adulthood is difficult for many former foster youth.  When they age out of the foster care system, they’re more likely than their peers to end up in homeless, in jail, or unemployed.  They are also more likely to drop out of high school, not attend college, or become a young parent.   Unfortunately, these horrible statistics are not new or uncommon.  Helping youth in care identify adults who can support them after their foster care services end is essential to improving their quality of life.


As a way to strengthen a youth’s safety net, many foster care experts encourage the creation of a permanency pact.  A permanency pact is a written agreement between the youth and a supportive adult with the purpose of establishing a life-long relationship.  A permanency pact allows both parties to clarify goals and expectations and express their commitment to each other.   FANTASTIC!!


Here’s a list of things YOU can do if you’re not sure what you can do to help youth who are aging out of foster care or you are connected to a youth aging out of care but a little fearful of signing a “contract or pledge”:

1.    Friendship

  • Friends let youth know that someone is in their corner
  • Listen to them when they need to talk to someone
  • Hang out together – movies, play board games, attend sporting events

2.    Housing

  • Provide a temporary place to stay if needed
  • Open your home to college students during the holidays
  • Help them move into their own place

3.    Career

  • Provide job search coaching or assistance
  • Allow them to work at your business or organization
  • Help them complete hiring forms and maintain employment

4.    Education

  • Become a tutor
  • Donate school supplies
  • Send care packages at college

5.    Financial

  • Teach them to manage money
  • Provide transportation or funds for transportation
  • Provide a scholarship or educational assistance
  • Allow them to do laundry at your home


Nicki Sanders, MSW, Chief Visionary Officer
The Teen Toolbox provides youth portfolio development and civic engagement and academic enrichment opportunities to help teens set goals for life after high school and create a road map to reach those goals through its PACKAGED FOR SUCCESS™ Programs.


Comments 6

  • What a great list of things that people can do to support our foster youth, Nicki. I would add teach them skills that you might have. For example, how to use tools, how to cook, how to grow food; practical things that might help them either find employment or create their own business.

    When I worked in a transitional living setting it was my practice to find mentors for my clients. One young woman wanted to be a correctional officer and I knew a former law enforcement officer who was a private investigator and security consultant. He gave her a job in his firm, taught her a lot about law enforcement and made it easy for her to work and attend school. He introduced her to a correctional officer that was a friend of his and absolutely enriched her life and career choice.

    Thank you for doing what you can do.

  • I would love to help these kids. I was a foster kid and aged out as well at age 17. I worked hard and made it after a 5 year battle with drugs and trouble with the law. I am now 45 and have 17 years clean, own a home, pay my bills and am an asset to the community. I have alot to offer and would love to help, how can I get involved. I have wanted to foster care for a long time but because of my past I cannot. I think that is wrong cause if anyone knows what these kids are going thru it is me.

    • Congratulations on your sobriety!! I appreciate you reading my blog and connecting with me. I am grateful for your heart to give back. There are many ways to get involved, it could be as simple as preparing a Thanksgiving meal, teaching a life skills course, or delivering handwritten Valentine’s Day cards, but my first suggestion is always to connect with a local foster care agency or group home in your city and to find what support they need.

  • What a great list of things to help these youth transition to independence. KidsPeace offers the KEYS program, aimed at teaching life skills to foster teens who are about to be on their own for the first time:

  • Thank you for sharing such great information for “Aging Out” Foster Youth.

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