Children enter foster care as a result of neglect and abuse. The effects can be devastating, even for those who return to a safer home or go on to find new permanent ones. But what about the children who "age out" of foster care at 18? What are their chances for success? In honor of National Child Abuse Prevention month, we'd like to highlight the incredible work of A Sense of Home (ASOH). This Los Angeles-based organization is giving these kids community and finally a feeling of home.
If you go to ASOH's website, you will be confronted with staggering statistics that paint a bleak picture: each year, 20,000-35,000 kids will age out of foster care without any family ties or support. Within 18 months, 40-50% will become homeless. Less than half will become employed within 12-18 months and 77% of young women are likely to end up pregnant. The cost to society is an overwhelming $8 billion each year.
ASOH began as a call to action to help furnish homes for aged out foster youth. But what they really provide is a safety net. These young people are connected with volunteers from their community who are dedicated to helping them create a sense of home. They also gain access to mentorship, peer networks, and employment opportunities. Through the process, they witness a love and kindness many have never experienced before, and, in turn, they are more likely to thrive and become contributing members of society.