By Callie Langford
Did you know that for teens aging out of the foster care system at age 18*:
- 20% will become instantly homeless .
- Only half will have some form of gainful employment by the age of 24.
- There is less than a 3% chance they will earn a college degree at any point in their life (in spite of benefits in many states that will cover the cost of state tuition).
- 7 out of 10 girls will become pregnant before the age of 21.
- 25% will suffer from the direct effects of PTSD.
- Nearly 60% of young men are convicted of a crime.
Did you also happen to know that today is National Opposite Day?
I will never forget what a young woman who had a CASA volunteer for 8 years once told me as she was nearing her high school graduation and prepping to age out of the system.
I asked her about her next steps and she said, “I was accepted to UTSA (University of Texas at San Antonio) so that’s where I’m going and I plan to major in law and engineering.”
I next asked where she thought she might be today without her CASA volunteer.
Without hesitation she responded, “I think I would be pretty much in jail, because there’s a lot of times where I just would have lost it. With a CASA volunteer, I was able to do more in my life, and talk more, and get what I needed out because I was able to have somebody there to advocate for me.”
Our Teen Advocacy and Permanency Project’s (TAPP) goal is to provide youth at risk of aging out of the foster care system with a greater ability to achieve success as independent, healthy adults.
The goal is literally to create the opposite of the negative statistics you see above. All across our program, we are working to create better outcomes… opposite outcomes to what’s expected for children in the foster care system. For the young woman headed off to study law and engineering, she directly attributed her opposite future to her CASA volunteer.
Today, on National Opposite Day, let’s take this opportunity to turn a silly themed day into a serious commitment to create opposite, and much improved outcomes for youth in the foster care system.
Holidays January 2018