This story, From Foster Care to Freshman Year, was covered by NPR in early January. It sat at the back of my mind for a few weeks as I thought about my role as an adoption professional. The fact that 20,000 children are aging out of foster care each year continues to fuel my passion to recruit, license and train more pre-adoptive families who are committed to adopting older youth from the foster care system.

You may wonder why is this so important and this story helps to explain the answer to that question. The outcomes for youth who age out of the foster care system are disturbing. According to current statistics about 1 in 5 of these youth will become homeless, only 58% will graduate high school, 1 in 4 will be involved negatively with justice system and fewer than 3 percent will earn a college degree by age 25. Despite the fact that there are college resources and various programs for foster children who age out – nothing can replace the support of a permanent, loving family.

While the number of children adopted from the foster care system continues to rise, finding families open to children ages 10 and up still remains a challenge. These are the children who are at the highest risk for aging out and facing the realities of life after foster care alone. For more information on adopting an older child from the foster care system, please contact me at samin@barkerfoundation.org.