There are issues and then there are individuals. Issues like homelessness, crime, and depression, make up each appalling statistic. But every number is an individual -each one having hopes and dreams, hobbies, a favorite food, and a painful reason they were raised as a ward of the state.
Below are some numbers that show the extent of what’s happening with youth who age out of the system.
- On any given day more than 500,000 youth are in some form of foster care cross the United States. Nearly 80,000 live in California.
- Nationally, each year an estimated 20,000 of these youth emancipate or “age out” of the foster care system, and are discharged into the world, whether or not they are prepared to transition to adulthood. 65% of them do so without a place to live and many don’t have the skills necessary to live on their own.
- Over 70% of all state penitentiary inmates have spent time in the foster care system.
- Over 40% of foster youth are moved 3 or more times and 11% are moved 5 times or more. It takes approximately 4-6 months for a child to recover academically after changing schools.
- Former foster youth experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at a rate two times the level of U.S. war vets.
- 51% of the youth are unemployed within 2-4 years of emancipation.
- 67% of females who emancipated form the child welfare system had at least one baby within 5 years of leaving care.
- Without housing, youth are less likely to complete their education, find employment, and gain access to health care, all of which jeopardize their ability to make a successful transition to adulthood.
- The combined annual cost of issues related to homelessness, including hospitalization, medical treatment, incarceration, police intervention, and emergency shelter expenses cost taxpayers approximately $5 billion convservatively.