There are over half a million children in America’s foster care system. Many will reside in care far too long and eventually “age out” of the system. The sense of hopelessness and despair can be overwhelming and the impacts can be far greater than the immediate, visible effects.
Without basic life skills, youth who leave care can have difficulty finding safe housing, getting and keeping a steady job, staying healthy, and avoiding financial and legal trouble. There is often no one with whom they share small successes or from whom advice can be sought. Simple emergencies can easily escalate into full-blown crises.
Comprehensive and effective independent living transition services are key to helping youth function as productive citizens and to acquiring skills necessary for pursuing an education, finding a job, obtaining suitable housing, and protecting their health and well-being when they leave the foster care system.