Today, on Midday, a conversation about the Foster Care System. Nearly 430,000 children and young people are currently in the care of foster families. About 112,000 of them are hoping to be adopted permanently. And for the young people who “age out” of the system on their 18th or 21st birthdays, the challenges are daunting, and the statistics are devastating.
Only three to four percent of young people who are foster care alumni earn a college degree by the age of 26. One in five will experience homelessness. Only half will be employed. 7 of 10 female foster youth will become pregnant by the time they are 21, and one in four foster youth will experience PTSD.
Tom’s guests include Shalita O’Neale, Founder and Executive Director of the Fostering Change Network. Fostering Change is producing a conference this weekend at Johns Hopkins Medicine to connect people in the system with resources and networking opportunities.
And joining us on the line from the studios of NPR in Washington is Jelani Freeman. Like Shalita O’Neale, he is a product of the foster care system. He is an attorney who serves as a court appointed special advocate for foster children in Washington, and he sits on the board of the Center for Adoption Support and Education.
We will also hear testimony from Luigi Kramer, a 22 year old college student and foster care alum who has recently transitioned out of the system; and Lisa Phillips an entrepreneur and alum who was taken into care in the 1980’s.