Most Americans think children in foster care will be OK when they age out. In reality, us fosters who age out have a very hard time adapting to society and usually end up going through more tragic events due to only knowing how to exist in survival mode, as well as a lack of support from family or others.
This is a very important topic that people sweep under the rug. When you’re in foster care, you know you have a strong support team and many opportunities. But when you age out it’s like all of that is gone. You’re lost, not even knowing how to start a bank account, apply for government assistance or secure housing.
I have many family and friends who also had a hard time transitioning from foster care or the juvenile system. Most of my peers went back in the system as an adult or experienced more trauma due to vulnerability, lack of support or past trauma that did not get cured. In our current system, I see a lack of financial support, advocate support, healing circles and other beneficial programming that would help our aging-out fosters and youth who were in the juvenile justice system.
I truly believe in my heart that improved aging-out resources will reduce crime and provide more time for us to be able to get on our feet. Many foster youth in the U.S. or youth who were in the juvenile justice system — including myself — could benefit from more access to resources to learn coping and emotion regulation.
Many of us have children of our own, and we do not want the patterns of trauma to continue through them. Or, simply, many of us just want to better ourselves. I feel we are very limited without the support we need and deserve.