Children in foster care are among our nation’s most vulnerable youth. They encounter significant life challenges that make it more likely that they will face negative outcomes. Many have been abused or neglected, resulting in a host of emotional and developmental needs.
Most young adults receive family support to help them weather the difficulties associated with transitioning to independence. This is not always the case for youth who have grown up in foster care. Some will ‘age out’ when they turn 18 because they were not reunited with their family or adopted. They do not always have the support of a caring adult.
Imagine, just for a second, that you had to change houses, friends and schools multiple times growing up. That there were so many people that came in and out of your life, yet you didn’t feel you had someone to turn to for advice. You weren’t able to make many life choices on your own, yet you knew you were about to turn 18 and had to start a new life for yourself.
This is reality for nearly 800 youth who ‘age out’ in Arizona each year. These youth are often expected to transition into independence on their own and confront the challenges associated with emerging adulthood. Many are in danger of failing to become self-sufficient without necessary resources.
Our programs work with youth ages 16 to 21, who are or were involved in Arizona’s state or tribal foster care system, by providing statewide Transitional & Support Services. Youth are provided necessary living skills to address financial, housing, counseling, employment, educational and other supports needed to reach their goals. These youth are also able to enhance their social skills and build healthy adult connections. Studies have also found that mentored youth have reduced rates of homelessness, incarceration, teen pregnancy, and show an increase in graduation and job stability.
To learn more about our Transitional & Support Services, becoming a mentor, and other ways to get involved, visit us online at www.ArizonasChildren.org.