80% of Teens who Age out of Foster Care lead Dysfunctional Lives This is Criminal

How many of us would do well with no long term relationships, friends to fall
back on, a family (even a very troubled family) to turn to when life kicked us
in the stomach?
NYT article http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/us/07foster.htmlrecaps the
terrible data that we all know and have been unable to fix for many years.
Why the gangs flourish, schools fail, streets become unsafe & preteen girls give
The last study showed 80% of youth aging out of foster care leading
dysfunctional lives.
Blaming children for being born into dysfunctional families would not be a
stated public policy, but I have found it to be de facto public policy. Former
Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz has stated that “90% of the youth in
juvenile justice have come through the child protection system”.
Every child deserves a chance to obtain the skills necessary to lead a
productive life.
It is a much better investment to grow a child than it is a convict, a preteen
mother, or an unstable person. Study Finds More Woes Following Foster Care
Published: April 6, 2010
Only half the youths who had turned 18 and “aged out” of foster care were
employed by their mid-20s. Six in 10 men had been convicted of a crime, and
three in four women, many of them with children of their own, were receiving
some form of public assistance. Only six in 100 had completed even a community
college degree.
Phil Sussman for The New York Times
Cameron Anderson, 21, who went through several foster homes, completed homework
in Tampa, Fla.
Times Topic: Foster Care
The dismal outlook for youths who are thrust into a shaky adulthood from the
foster care system — now numbering some 30,000 annually — has been documented
with new precision by a long-term study released Wednesday, the largest to
follow such children over many years.
Researchers studied the outcomes for 602 youths in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin,
and compared them with their peers who had not been in foster care. Most youths
had entered the foster care system in their early teens and then were required
to leave it at 18 or, in the case of Illinois, 21.

“We took them away from their parents on the assumption that we as a society
would do a better job of raising them,” said Mark Courtney, a social work
researcher at the University of Washington who led the study with colleagues
from the Partners for Our Children program at Washington and the Chapin Hall
center at the University of Chicago. “We’ve invested a lot money and time in
their care, and by many measures they’re still doing very poorly.”
Over the last decade, the federal government and many states have started to
assist former foster care youths with education grants, temporary housing
subsidies and, in some places, extra years of state custody and support. The new
data showed that just over half of them are doing reasonably well and benefit
from such aid. But they throw a spotlight, researchers said, on two groups that
need more sweeping and lasting help.
About one-fourth of the people in the study, mainly women, are receiving public
aid and struggling to raise their own children, usually without a high school
degree. Researchers found that one in five in a second group, mainly men, are
badly floundering, with multiple criminal convictions, low education and incomes
and, often, mental health or substance abuse problems.
Once they leave foster care, these most troubled youths often have no reliable
adults to advise them or provide emotional support, said Gary Stangler, director
of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, a private foundation. “When
these kids make a mistake, it’s life altering, they have nothing to fall back
on,” Mr. Stangler said.
Finding a mentor who provides “that backbone you need” has made all the
difference, said Cameron Anderson, 21, of Tampa, Fla., who entered foster care
at 15 after he got into trouble with the law, then lived in group homes.
Mr. Anderson, who is now in community college and works at a printer cartridge
company, receives education and other financial aid that has helped him keep an
apartment. But he has made some missteps since moving out on his own, he said,
like not paying bills in full so he could buy shoes and hanging out with old
friends who were bad influences.
Last fall, he was introduced to a mentor, an investor in Tampa, by a Casey
program, Connected by 25. The two now speak daily, Mr. Anderson said, discussing
“school and life in general, even to the point where he’ll say, ‘Hey, are you
using protection?’ ”
Had he had such a relationship earlier, Mr. Anderson said, “it would have saved
me from a ton of bridges I’ve had to cross.”
While younger children are often adopted when their parents’ rights are
terminated, fewer prospective parents want to adopt teenagers. Recent research,
including the new study, shows that most foster children, even though they have
been removed from their homes, maintain ties with a parent or other relative.
Some agencies are trying to support such ties or to locate relatives who might
adopt the children or provide long-term support.
Illinois, New York, Vermont and the District of Columbia now allow youths to
remain in foster care to age 21, and some states help with transitional housing.
Congress in 2008 passed a law providing matching money to states that extend
foster care to age 21, something that the authors of the study call for. But in
the face of large budget deficits, few states have signed on so far.
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About yvonnemason

Background:  The eldest of five children, Yvonne was born May 17, 1951 in Atlanta, Georgia. Raised in East Point, Georgia, she moved to Jackson County, Ga. until 2006 then moved to Port St. Lucie, Florida where she currently makes her home.  Licensed bounty hunter for the state of Georgia. Education:  After a 34 year absence, returned to college in 2004. Graduated with honors in Criminal Justice with an Associate’s degree from Lanier Technical College in 2006. Awards:  Nominated for the prestigious GOAL award in 2005 which encompasses all of the technical colleges. This award is based not only on excellence in academics but also leadership, positive attitude and the willingness to excel in one’s major. Affiliations:  Beta Sigma Phi Sorority  Member of The Florida Writer’s Association – Group Leader for St Lucie County The Dream:  Since learning to write at the age of five, Yvonne has wanted to be an author. She wrote her first novel Stan’s Story beginning in 1974 and completed it in 2006. Publication seemed impossible as rejections grew to 10 years. Determined, she continued adding to the story until her dream came true in 2006. The Inspiration:  Yvonne’s brother Stan has been her inspiration and hero in every facet of her life. He was stricken with Encephalitis at the tender age of nine months. He has defied every roadblock placed in his way and has been the driving force in every one of her accomplishments. He is the one who taught her never to give up The Author: Yvonne is currently the author of several novels, including:  Stan’s Story- the true story of her brother’s accomplishments, it has been compared to the style of Capote, and is currently being rewritten with new information for re-release.  Tangled Minds - a riveting story about a young girl’s bad decision and how it taints everyone’s life around her yet still manages to show that hope is always possible. This novel has been compared to the writing of Steinbeck and is currently being written as a screenplay. This novel will be re-released by Kerlak Publishing in 2009  Brilliant Insanity – released by Kerlak Publishing October 2008  Silent Scream – Released by Lulu.com October 2008- Slated to be made into a movie Yvonne’s Philosophy in Life - “Pay it Forward”: “In this life we all have been helped by others to attain our dreams and goals. We cannot pay it back but what we can do is ‘pay it forward’. It is a simple
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5 Responses to 80% of Teens who Age out of Foster Care lead Dysfunctional Lives This is Criminal

  1. Stacey says:

    I so agree with the report above. I have a foster daughter who will not graduate until she is almost 19 but the system wants to cut her off at 18 because she will be 18. That is insane she will not even be out of high school. I want to adopt her to give her permenancy but the system is making this vey difficult. I am a single working mom and can not afford for the system to cut her out before she even graduates high school. I thought there was suppose to be support for these kids until they transition to college or work.


  2. Stacey says:

    Thanks. I am glad to meet more people who advocate to help these kids transition to adulthood. I don’t understand a system who wants to throw them to the streets at 18 and with no resources to support themselves. I mostly take older kids but the system seems to work against you. Are all your books about CPS? The one I wrote is and it is called State Of Sadness. I revealed alot in this book.


  3. Jen says:

    I am working on a paper and would like to site the study that indicated 80% of youth aging out of foster care lead dysfunctional lives. Could you please advise as to which study it was?


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