Sharde Armstrong, a Taylor University graduate and former foster care child, poignantly expresses in a post on FosterClub the challenges she faced after “aging out” of the foster care system. The pain of being introduced to the parents of her friends as a college student was overwhelming. She was tackling basic life circumstances on her own unlike the majority of young adults.
“Young people – like me – who age out of foster care do not have this luxury. The decisions we face every day – how we will pay our bills, put food in our mouths, and keep a roof over our heads – are difficult, and must be answered without the guidance or support of a family.”
Sharde is one of the thousands of foster care children who are shoved out the door once they turn 18. According to Good Shepherd Children & Family Services, these children immediately become homeless. Only 3% of them will complete a college degree. Further, only half of them find a sustainable source of income by 24. It turns out these legal adults are not ready to face the endeavors of adulthood. Additionally, many of us would agree, foster child or not, that no one at this age really is.
The team at Pathway Family Services understands the struggles of aging out teens and has implemented a program called TRAIL (Teens Reaching Adult Independent Living). Those who are clueless in the life of an independent, well-functioning adult can find support. Essential life skills are taught–cooking, budgeting, paying rent, interviewing for a job, and even getting along with your next-door neighbor. Further, Independent Living Specialists are on-site 24 hours a day for needed support or disciplinary purposes. Teens enrolled in the program expect to complete specific educational, financial, and employment goals. This needs to be completed by the time they are discharged at age 22.
If you are a young adult and former foster child needing support and training or if you know of someone who can benefit, check up on the requirements for the TRAIL program here. Please contact us to start a conversation with a caring specialist in order to take the next steps for your future as a successful adult.