What is "Aging Out" of Foster Care?

There are presently over 500,000 children and youth in the Foster Care System, many of whom experience situations that change frequently and often include abuse and neglect from an early age.

At the age of 18 years old, approximately 24,000 teenagers age out of Foster Care System and are expected to re-locate and continue their lives on their own. Almost half have not yet graduated high school, yet often-times these teens find themselves without a place to live, transportation or jobs to survive. Most do not possess the skills to thrive on their own and are unable to support themselves.  

By helping to make the “aging out” process smoother, we are preventing these youth from turning to unhealthy and even dangerous alternatives out of desperation. Supporting these young people through their journey to adulthood is a top priority for the Seeds of Life Foundation, as we work to break and prevent the pattern of domestic violence, abuse and neglect for our future generations.

Click on How to Help to learn more.

The good news is, we can all help!

About the Issue

The children that are part of the Foster Care System have often already faced multiple hardships as neglect, abuse, violence, learning disabilities, and abandonment. The majority of foster children have difficulties with school, with almost fifty percent dropping out of school after exiting the Foster Care System. Statistics show that under 3% of foster children aging out of the system graduate from College, even though over 70% express a desire to do so.

Many things have a compounding effect that lead to their inability to thrive – lack of financial and social skills, lacking training and work experience, along with the lack of support from caring adults and the resources to provide for even their most basic needs.

Foster Care Aging Out Statistics

After reaching the age of 18 years of age, more than 26% of children will become instantly homeless.

National studies have shown that within three (3) years of leaving foster care at age 18:

Are homeless
Are receiving public assistance or were incarcerated, 13% within the state of Florida
Commit suicide
Experience drug or alcohol abuse
Have not finished high school, 25% will not finish high school at all
Are unemployed
Became parents, with over 70% of girls becoming pregnant outside of marriage
By age 26, only 3% of youth who aged out of foster care will earn a College degree, even though over 70% dream about attending College someday.

This reality is further complicated when compounded by the experience of domestic violence, abuse or neglect while these young people were living with their families or in Foster Care.

  • About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse
  • 36% of women in prison in the USA were abused as children, about twice the frequency seen in the general population
  • Children who experience child abuse & neglect are approximately 9 times more likely to become involved in criminal activity
  • 60% of children have been exposed to violence, crime, or abuse in their homes, schools, and communities
  • Almost 40% of children were direct victims of 2 or more violent acts, and 1 in 10 were victims of violence 5 or more times
  • Almost 1 in 10 children saw one family member assault another family member
  • While in Foster Care, surveys going back decades show that 25% to as high as 40% of former foster children report having been abused or neglected

These shocking numbers drive the Seeds of Life Foundation to support youth aging out of the foster system, to make sure they have successful transitions into the real world; as well as advocating the importance of adoption and responsible foster parenting.

How to Help

Donate School Supplies

Contribute Graduation Gifts

Donate and/or Participate in one of our many Family events and Holiday Parties

Provide transport to/from Banks (to open bank accounts), Doctor Appointments, Job Interviews

Provide transitional and/or low-cost housing

Contribute household items and/or furnishings to help set up their first homes

Donate Clothing and/or Hygiene Products

Become a Mentor through our

Become a School Tutor through our

Become a Teacher or Contribute your Expertise – Basic Life Skills: Health, Nutrition, Cooking, Finances

Contribute your Expertise through Vocation Training

Provide employment opportunities

Donate vehicles

Become a Speaker or Advocate

Provide valuable Television or Radio airtime or Publication Space

Donate to our Youth Educational Assistance Fund

Be a friend, willing to listen and help. You can make a difference with your financial contribution or by becoming a volunteer in any of our Programs or Committees.