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What Happens To Youth Who Age Out Of Foster Care? Interview with Maria Rolf
Have you ever wondered what happens to foster children after they turn 18? Do they graduate from high school? Move off to college with their friends? Start taking steps toward a future career path? For the average teenager, these are normal milestones that symbolize becoming an independent adult. But for teens who have grown up in the foster system, this new stage of life means being thrown into the real world with few resources, few positive relationships, and even fewer hopes of “making it”. Youth who are aging out of foster care instantly find themselves drowning in fears of poverty and homelessness, with little ability to see beyond the day-to-day. As new legal adults, these youth are primarily concerned with one thing: survival.
Current statistics for youth aging out of foster care are pretty grim:
- 25% become incarcerated within their first year of adulthood
- 1 out of every 5 are homeless before their 19th birthday
- 3 out of every 4 girls are pregnant before the age of 21
- Fewer than 4% graduate from college
- Only half are employed by the age of 24
- It doesn’t have to be this way
At Impact Living Services, we are dedicated to changing these outcomes. Our independent living program gives youth the opportunity to transition into adulthood in a safe, secure environment where all of their basic needs are met so they can focus
on succeeding and thriving as adults. We provide counseling, mentorship, and life skills coaching to make sure that by the time they turn 21, they are able to hold a steady job, have enough money saved to live on their own, and have a community of positive relationships that are going to be cheering them on for the long haul. We desire to help individuals, churches, and other organizations see the needs of this vulnerable population and come around them to help them succeed. This is an “eyes wide open” and “all hands on deck” vision, and we’d love to help you find your role in it.
After working in the academic world for over 10 years, Maria Rolf joined the Impact Living Services team in 2018 as a mentor and life skills coach to 17-20-year-old foster youth in an independent living program. She now serves as the Mission Advancement Officer, helping to engage and invite communities, churches, businesses, and other organizations to take part in changing outcomes for children and youth aging out of foster care.
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