Aging out of Foster Care
Imagine, if you will, what it would’ve been like to spend most of your life in foster care. As you carry painful memories from your childhood, you try to move forward, hoping that, someday, you’ll find the stability you’ve never known, the stability most of us take for granted.
And then you turn 18. Tonight, on your birthday, there’s a decent chance you’ll sleep on the streets. On your 18th birthday, you officially “age out” of the foster care system, becoming ineligible for most state-funded assistance. After all, you’re now an adult. Responsible for your own well being.
For finding housing. For finishing high school and finding a job. Without any family support.
Were you ready to become an adult at 18?
Most of us certainly were not. Already, they’ve endured horrific tragedies few of us can comprehend. Many have suffered brutal physical or sexual abuse. Yet others were neglected and abandoned, no longer wanted by the
ones who brought them into this world.
But still, they hold on to hope … hope that, somehow, they can create better futures for themselves.
In Florida, more than 800 will age out this year.
Few finish high school; a diploma isn’t quite as important when you’re looking for a place to sleep and struggling to find your next meal. And for the 60 percent who have a baby within four years, the circumstances are even more dire.
Young adults ages 18-23 are one of the fastest growing segments of Florida’s homeless population.
Within three years of aging out, 33 percent of former foster teens will be on the streets. Most of these teens have been in foster care for the majority of their lives, experiencing instability, broken promises and false hope.
What we (GFWC New Tampa Junior’s) are going to do to help:
We will be collecting items to create 10 “Hope Baskets” for teens aging out of Foster Care. These baskets will provide
the most basic of needs that most of us just took from our parent’s homes when we moved into our first dorm or apartment. These “Hope Baskets” will be given to the Hillsborough County Family Partnership Alliance who oversees approx. 800 children in foster care throughout the Tampa Bay area.
What is needed to make a “Hope Basket”
LARGE laundry baskets
Full size blankets
2-pack paper towels
4-pack toilet paper
Boxes of trash bags
All purpose cleaners
Tubes of toothpaste
2-4 pack bar soap
Sets of bath towels (2 bath, 2 hand, 2 washcloths)
Sets of plastic dishes
Where can you drop off your donations?
Drop them off at our Feb. 13th meeting at the YMCA between 6:30-7:00pm.
We hope to collect enough to put together at least 10 “Hope Baskets”.