I wrote a long article about this for NewsBlaze, but I wanted to share some statistics with you that not many know. I used to follow the statistics pretty closely, but these sound about right. This is part of the article I sent them.
The statistics for children raised in foster care are staggering, and believe it or not, I believe they’ve improved significantly through the years. For example, when I was in foster care, programs like the ones the Annie E. Casey Foundation funds and supports were not available.
The statistics for former foster children are frightening (from 2006):
# 25% of former foster youth will be incarcerated within the first 2 years of emancipation.
# Former foster youth are found to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at 2 times the level of U.S. war veterans.
# Forty-two percent (42%) of foster youth, including 60% of women, become parents within 2.5-4 years after exiting care.
# Parents with a history of foster care are almost twice as likely to see their own children placed in foster care or become homeless than parents without this history.
# Females in foster care are six times more likely than the general population to give birth before age 21.
# 1/3 of former foster youth have incomes at, or below, $6,000 per year, which is substantially below the federal poverty level of $7,890 for a single individual.
# 83% of foster children are held back by the third grade.
# 46% of former foster youth complete high school (compared to 84% of the general population)
# 70% of teens who emancipate from foster care report that they want to attend college, but less than 50% complete their high school graduation and fewer than 10% of who graduate from high school enroll and college, and of those less than 1% graduate from college.
Of course statistics vary, but when I think of ways that could make a big difference in combating homelessness, incarceration rates, teen pregnancy, etc, I often think that there would be a significant drop in all of these areas if we fixed the foster care system.
I know this is a departure from my usual blog style, but I wanted to share this with everyone and why I’m so passionate about these issues. I do wonder if we could change the foster care system if we could significantly help our country.