Aging Out Of The Foster Care System

1747 Words 7 Pages
In 2011, Statistics Canada reported that in Alberta, 5,500 children were in foster care, 1,145 of these children were aged 14-19 (Statistics Canada, 2011). Once these young persons reach the age of 18 they age out of the foster care system. Aging out of the system refers to the transition out of the foster care system when they reach the legal age at which the majority of other youth leave their homes in pursuance of independent living (Lee & Berrick, 2014, p.78). However, not only do the circumstances and levels of readiness vary between youth from stable families and youth in the foster-care system, they are also very different in their future opportunities and their means and resources they have to pursue them. Transitioning into adulthood …show more content…
Youth living under governmental care usually have life histories characterized by family instability and dysfunction, placement instability, insecure attachments, abuse or other factors that resulted in their separation and need to be put into alternative care. However, there is a stark difference in the transition process between the majority of youth living in stable living situations and youth in out-of-home care. The family structure and school system play a crucial role in the socialization of children. These structures provide important social bonds that are imperative in emotional, cognitive, and mental development, they also contribute to learning fundamental life skills. Furthermore, youths preparing for independent living are typically able to access a wealth of knowledge and support from their families or care-givers. The absence of these systems has detrimental effects on not only the preparedness of transitioning youth, but also have great implications on their physical, emotional and mental well-being. For instance, these young people often emerge from the foster-care system with a multitude of factors that may limit their opportunities and pose as significant obstacles to their success as independent individuals. Research conducted by McMaon & Fields, (2015, p.78) showed that many young persons …show more content…
A group that addresses these needs is advantageous in reducing the persisting systemic issues that prove to be obstacles in the way of foster youth’s journey towards self-efficacy. Brown, Courtney, and McMillen (2015) found that “behavioural health needs among young people aging-out of foster care remain high upon exiting care” (p. 167), and that “youth benefit from positive interpersonal relationships with family, peers, and/or community members which lead to more encouraging outcomes…” (Graham et al., 2015, p. 76; Collins et al., 2010; Hass & Graydon, 2009; Kelin, 2012; Pecora, 2012). Positive, recurring and encouraging social and community connections provide a positive model for foster youth aging out of the system. While some foster youth aging out have managed to build positive bonds with adults, many remain disengaged from any type of social support and find themselves very isolated in terms of connections with others (Abrams & Curry, 2014). A significant amount of youth interviewed in a study expressed the fear of being “shot down” if they asked for assistance from others and external resources (Abrams & Curry, 2014), a fear that would be eased in a safe group environment, where trust has been established and positive guided support is

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