Pros And Cons Of Aging Out

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You come home on your 18th birthday, and rather than your mom and dad waiting to greet you and celebrate this milestone with you, your bags are packed and waiting next to the door. For many foster children, this is a reality. Take John; for example, John is currently a senior at the L&N STEM Academy who has recently turned 18. Unlike most people, turning 18 wasn't a happy occasion for him to look forward to. As he neared his 18th birthday, he was not fantasizing about all the freedom he would soon have. Instead, he was trying to figure out where he would live. Every year more than 23,000 children will age out of the foster care system (Gaille). This can be incredibly straining as most children who age out are still in high school and don't have time for a full-time job, and typically, they have not built up a credit score. Without any source of income or a credit score, it can be nearly impossible for these children to find an apartment or other housing. Some take up couch-hopping, spending nights on various friends’ couches for a few months, but, overall, 1/3 of foster children who age out spend their first night on the streets, and 1 in 5 are homeless within two years of aging out (Stout). Aging out also comes with issues regarding education. Emancipated adolescents are three times more likely to never receive a high school diploma or GED, with only 57% graduating high school by 19. Moreover, 1 in 4 emancipated young adults will be incarcerated within two years,
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