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”:
- 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
- Provide a temporary place to stay if needed
- Open your home to college students during the holidays
- Help them move into their own place
- Provide job search coaching or assistance
- Allow them to work at your business or organization
- Help them complete hiring forms and maintain employment
- Become a tutor
- Donate school supplies
- Send care packages at college
- 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.