Foster Care: What Happens when They Leave?

Children enter foster care at all ages, ranging from newborn to 17 years old and remain in care for varying lengths of time. Even though most of them return home withing 6 months or less, many remain in foster care much longer, some even grow up in foster care.

Children in foster care experience a high level of social disadvantage. Many have poor health and/or behavior problems. Most of the children who grow up in foster care are disabled, either mentally or physically, suffering from depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders or phobias, sometimes as a result of foster care.

The educational outcomes for these children is equally alarming, because many of these children are frequently being moved from home to home, causing it to be extremely difficult or sometimes, even impossible to keep up with the curriculum changes. Sometimes, there are large gaps in their schooling because of the transition process from one home to another. Often times these children are stigmatized by their fellow students, resulting in high truancy rates and lower grades. Added to that, many of these children are simply unable to concentrate on their studies because they are worried about the problems at home.

Of those children who grow up and leave foster care, many of them end up either depending upon relatives or friends to support them or, sad to say, end up on the streets. Some live in low-income housing and depend upon public assistance due to the fact that they simply to not have the skills required to maintain gainful employment because of the lack of stability while in school.

There are those, of course who were lucky enough to get a foster home which was permanent enough to provide the care needed and are thriving beautifully. Unfortunately, many homes are taking care of so many children at one time, there isn’t enough time in the day to give all of them all of the support they need.

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