Foster Care Awareness Rally w/ NAN Youth & College Huddle—
In 2019, more than 20,000 young people were not reunited with their families or placed in permanent homes — they aged out of foster care, simply because they were too old to remain. According to ChildrenRights.org, there are nearly 424,000 children in foster care in the United States. In 2019, over 672,000 spent time in U.S. foster care.
On average, children remain in state care for over a year and a half, and five percent of children in foster care have languished there for five or more years.
Despite the perception that the majority of children in foster care are very young, the average age of children entering is 8 years old. One third of children entering foster care are young people of color.
30,000 youth transition out of the foster care system between the ages of 18-21 annually. 70% of those youth will end up on government assisted programs within 4 years. 25% will not have a high school diploma or General Education Diploma (GED). Less than 12% will ever go on to earn their college degree. With roughly 34 million entry level positions nationwide, youth leaving the foster care system are not equipped and properly guided to become or be independent adults. Sadly, youth lack both skills and resources that can help them receive and gain opportunities to help them gain employment. Within 18 months of emancipation 40-50% of foster youth become homeless. Within 4 years of leaving foster care 50% of youth will not have any finances and those that do will have an annual income of less than $8,000. 7 out of 10 girls that age out of foster care will become pregnant prior to the age of 21. 25% of youth that age out of foster care experience and suffer from PTSD. Roughly 6% of youth will attend a higher education system. These children are being failed all around, We must do better!National Action Network (NAN) Youth Huddle x Silent Cry hosted a Rally in Times Square on Friday 5/28/21 for #FosterCareAwarenessMonth. Attendees were asked to wear something sky blue as it is the color for foster care awareness month which is the month of May. Dozens gathered in the rain to support the cause. We Will and We Must Continue to Amplify Foster Care Issues and Demands. Leading foster care advocates Larry Smith, Shawanna Vaughn, & Jamell Henderson co-hosted this effort. Special guests and speakers included Senator Jabari Brisport, Manhattan DA Candidate Lucy Lang, youth advocate Navardo Butler, foster care alum Mo Barz. Larry Smith shared 16 demands he personally created to push for change and foster care policy. Senator Jabari Brisport agreed to meet with Larry to follow up on his demands and to help create policy. We are also seeking to meet with NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson. Some demands include-Give youth leaving foster care first priority to Section 8 & HUD Housing (push new federal laws created under Ben Carson and his administration to provide a safe haven for youth to strive and thrive).-Suggest that ACS utilize newly built buildings within the 5 boroughs to house foster youth transitioning out of foster care.-Prioritize and implement intense foster parent training in areas of mental health, advocacy and support.-Increase the amount of hours foster parents will be required to complete training that is specifically geared towards helping youth transition into adulthood. Note: Holding ACS accountable is key especially because they hand down the funding to nonprofit organizations to operate programs and license foster parents.-Have a mandatory 6-week mental health evaluation for foster parents-Implement an independent performance evaluation of the foster parents, social workers and the services provided by the agencies-Demanding a sit-down with the ACS Commissioner and administration to provide our policies and plans in foster parent recruitment esp for Black and Brown communitiesMore to come#ProtectOurChildren