Most children are supported by family beyond the age of 18. What about those who are on their own beginning on their 18th birthday?
Check out Preventable Tragedy: A Hawaiian Teen’s Suicide after Foster Care,” an article written by Natalie Wendt. In this article Natalie Wendt speaks about a 19-year-old from Hawaii who had just committed suicide. Natalie further explains how the 19-year-old had just been phased out of foster care and fell on hardship when his Medicaid coverage ended on his 19th birthday. So, he was without the possibility of mental health treatment because of the expenses.
This article got me thinking about other hardships that young adults who are too old for foster care may come across when they are suddenly thrown into the real world. Luckily, Natalie linked back to an article written by her colleague, Josie Raymond. The article was called “Foster Care Fosters Homelessness,” and this struck me as pretty logical.
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago actually did a study on former foster youth, and the results follow the logic that is pointed out in Raymond’s article title. Foster children were followed starting when they entered foster care at 16, were still in care at 17, and were placed because of a reason other than delinquency. The Executive Summary reports the outcomes of these children when they were interviewed at the ages of 23 and 24.
- 24% of these kids were homeless at least once since they left foster care; half of these were homeless MORE THAN ONCE in that time
- Only 48% were currently employed
- 57% had health insurance; and two-thirds of these were insured by Medicaid
There is a gap here. A gap that needs to be filled by support services of some kind. Read the articles above, become aware, and spread awareness. Help our community fill this gap.