Today is the inaugural National Aging Out of Foster Care Awareness Day, an official day to recognize the thousands of youths aging out of the system each year. Buckner International created the awareness day to support teens and young adults aging out with vital resources such as academic tuition waivers, transitional programs and more.
The awareness day will fall on May 31 each year to conclude National Foster Care Month and symbolize the uncertainty many youth in the foster care system face as their 18th birthday approaches.
23,000 children age our of foster care each year
More than 23,000 children will age out of the foster care system each year in the United States, according to the National Foster Youth Institute. Twenty percent of them will become instantly homeless, while only 3% will earn a higher education degree. Last year in Texas, almost 40% of kids that exited foster care left due to age as opposed to adoption or reunification.
The new awareness day is an opportunity for former foster youth to share their successful experiences with transitional programming designed to help teens become self-sufficient adults in society.
There are resources for youth againg out of foster care
Since 2014, Buckner has served more than 1,000 youth in transitional programming throughout Texas in Beaumont, Amarillo, Lufkin, Dallas and Lubbock. These programs, Buckner FYi Centers (fostering youth independence) and NextStep, offer personalized counseling, coaching and education covering finances, cooking, applications and more.
Resources for youths who are about to or have already aged out of the foster care system can be found at FosterYouthAgingOutDay.com. These resources include information on educational training vouchers, tuition waivers, transitional programs nationwide and more. The site also shares how others can help within their own community.
You can help youth transition out of foster care
“It is important that we bring attention to the challenges faced by those aging out of foster care and show them that homelessness is not the only option for them,” said Albert Reyes, president and CEO of Buckner International. “There are people in their corner who care about them and want them to succeed in life. Aging Out of Foster Care Awareness Day will not only highlight the resources that are out there, but it will hopefully inspire community support and the creation of more programs that offer these kids a better future.”
You can help youth aging out by volunteering their time, donating to food and clothing pantries, or becoming foster parents in their community. Becoming a foster parent opens a door to a teenager who fears their 18th birthday, rather than celebrating it.