Support Oklahoma Homeless Youth
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Why You Should Care
There are certain milestones in a young person’s life that is a cause for celebration. Turning 18 may be one, and knowing that by law you are recognized as an adult. Yet, this milestone can be a joyous occasion, or a cause of extreme anxiety. It depends on whether that child experimenting with adulthood is doing so in the safety of their parent’s homes, with safety nets all around them to catch them if they fall. Perhaps that child is in the foster care system, in which case it may not be a celebration, it would be “aging out”. Aging out of the foster care system in the United states occurs in most states at the age of 18, although some states do allow the aging out phase to occur at 21, Oklahoma is not one of them. At 18 years of age, the child-turned-adult-in-one-day, would be expected to leave the home of the family in which they were currently placed and enter the world as if they were truly an adult, and expect to become successful. Unfortunately, this does not always happen, and instead what we see is a significantly high number of foster children become homeless. These are not the demands that most children celebrate by turning 18, yet they riddle the opportunities of those aging out of the foster care system.
- Oklahoma City Public Schools are reporting an estimated 5,474 homeless children in the school system.
- 21% are unaccompanied youth, without a family member, and who are sleeping in places not meant for human habitation. This number is up from last year, which was 8%.
- Foster children are also an at-risk group with 23,000 children aging out of the foster care system every year in the U.S.. In Oklahoma 300 youth face aging out of the system, and the dilemmas that may follow.
- 50% will develop substance abuse issues.
- 58% percent of those in foster care will graduate high school by age 19.
- Only 50% will have gainful employment by age 24.
- 25% of them will suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
- 7 out of 10 young women will become pregnant by age 21.
- Only 3% of foster kids will earn a college degree.
Are these the opportunities you would want for yourself or for your children?
Please help spread awareness and support our foster and homeless youth in Oklahoma. I think they have been through enough already, don't you?
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