United Friends of the Children is dedicated to the premise that foster youth deserve a successful adulthood.
Through our Housing and Education Programs, foster youth are provided with the opportunity to graduate from high school, attend and graduate from college, get a job, find housing and have a support system that moves them gradually towards independence.
Our goal is that the youth in our programs not only survive, but that they thrive.
Life After Foster Care
Imagine it’s your 18th birthday. You’ve been told that you have to move out of your house. You don’t own anything, except some clothes. You don’t have a mom or a dad, a bank account, a driver’s license, food, or a plan for the days to come. For over 1,400 young people every year in Los Angeles County, this is not an exercise in imagination. This is the beginning of life after foster care.
At age 18, foster youth “emancipate” or “age out,” of the foster care system and are left to fend for themselves, whether they are ready or not. Foster youth enter the world of independence alone; without the benefit of enduring early relationships, role modeling, or the support (financial as well as emotional) of family and community members.
General Outcomes for Foster Youth
Numerous studies have been conducted and mountains of data collected. The findings clearly show that the mental and emotional challenges, the lack of stability and attachments, and the violence and abuse foster youth experience translate into disproportionately high rates of homelessness, incarceration, unemployment, poor academic achievement and reliance on public assistance. Simply put, foster youth leave care unprepared for self-sufficiency. The figures speak for themselves:
- 70% of all California State Prison inmates are former foster youth
- 36% of California foster youth become homeless within 18 months of emancipation
- One in four become incarcerated within two years of emancipation
- 51% are unemployed within 2-4 years of emancipation
- 40% on public assistance within 2-4 years of emancipation
50% of all female foster youth will become pregnant by age 19
Educational Outcomes for Foster Youth
Data indicate that 46% of emancipating youth in Los Angeles County do not complete high school. Nationally, roughly 1% of all foster youth who enroll in college actually earn their bachelor’s degree. These poor educational outcomes are a major factor in the lack of success foster youth experience in their transition out of care.