The Early Point

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Staggering Statistics about US Foster Youth

So I'm not one to use this blog as a venue to preach about social injustice, but after receiving this data from some friends of mine in the not-for-profit sector, I knew I had to find a way to share it.

Below are some unbelievable statistics about the future that awaits US foster youth as they "emancipate" out of foster care. What blew my mind was the statistics around Housing and Education. Give them a read and let me know your thoughts. I'm confident they will shock you!

• 24-50% of former foster/probation youth become homeless within the first 18 months of emancipation.
• Nationally, 27% of the homeless population spent time in foster care.
• 65% of foster youth are lacking safe and affordable housing at the time of emancipation

• Fewer than 10% of foster youth that graduate from high school enroll in college, and less than 1% graduate from college.
• 83% of foster youth are held back by the third grade.
• 46% of former foster youth complete high school compared to 84% of the general population.

Employment & Income
• Less than half of former foster youth are employed 2½ to 4 years after leaving foster care, and only 38% maintain employment for at least one year.
• Nearly 60% of San Francisco’s emancipated youth live below the federal poverty level; this translates to less than $9,000 per year.

• 42% of all foster youth become parents within 2.5-4 years after exiting care.
• Females in foster care are six times more likely than the general population to give birth before age 21.
• Parents with a history of foster care are almost twice as likely to see their own children placed in care or become homeless than parents without this history

• Nationwide, over 90% of men in prison were either abandoned by their parents, abused, and/or lived in the foster care system.
• 70% of San Quentin inmates grew up in foster care.
• 20% of emancipating youth are incarcerated within 18 months of emancipation.

• Nearly 50% of foster children suffer from chronic health conditions such as asthma, visual and auditory problems, dental decay and malnutrition
• 50-60% of children in foster care have moderate to severe mental health problems