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Number of Children in Foster Care Decreases but Critical Needs Go Unmet
Date:5/6/2010

May is National Foster Care Month, a time designated by the National Foster Care Month Partnership to shine a public light on the plight of children and youth in foster care. The Foster Care Month Partnership, comprised of nearly 20 child welfare organizations around the country, calls on all Americans to help make a difference in the life of at least one young person in foster care.

Washington D.C. (Vocus) May 6, 2010 -- May is National Foster Care Month, a time designated by the National Foster Care Month Partnership to shine a public light on the plight of children and youth in foster care. This year, despite a marked decrease in the total number of children in foster care – from more than a half million in 2007 to 463,000 at the end of 2008 – serious issues remain, especially for older youth in care. The Foster Care Month Partnership, comprised of nearly 20 child welfare organizations around the country, calls on all Americans to help make a difference in the life of at least one young person in foster care.

A recently released study by Chapin Hall revealed that youth who reach the age of majority –age 18 in most states – and exit the system, experience futures full of hardship: More than one in five will become homeless after age 18; just 58 percent will graduate high school by age 19 (compared to 87 percent nationally); fewer than 3 percent will earn a college degree by age 25 (compared to 28 percent nationally); and one in four will be incarcerated within two years of leaving the system.

Over the last decade, the number of these young people who “age out” of foster care has risen steadily – from 19,000 in 1999 to an all-time high of nearly 30,000 in 2008. On their own, without the safety net of a family or the education they need to compete in the workplace, these young adults must navigate a weakened economy offering fewer
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