Juvenile Law Center

Pursuing justiceA Juvenile law center Blog

May 22, 2012

Guest Blog: "When I Turn 18, I'm Requesting To Stay In Foster Care Until Age 21"

posted by Megan H., foster youth, Philadelphia

My name is Megan. I'm a 17-year-old senior in high school. I entered foster care at the age of seven. My mother was a drug abuser and I didn't know my father so I was placed in the custody of the child welfare agency. Since 2002, I've been placed in multiple foster homes and one kinship care home. Most of the foster homes that I've been in didn't have positive outcomes. I lived with my oldest sister twice. Moving constantly affected my education and schooling. When I was being moved I lost credits in one of my classes, so I had to retake a 10th grade class in 12th grade. I've been enrolled in nine different schools.

Tags:Child Welfare and Foster Care|Extended Care and Reentry (Foster Care)|Transitions to Adulthood (Foster Care)
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May 17, 2012

Guest Blog: "Demand More—Demand a Home"

posted by Chris N., former foster youth, Montgomery County, PA

My name is Christopher, I am 21 years old, and I have never had a home. I do have your attention now, though, which seems to be a pale compromise for the first sentence. In 21 years I have lived in 13 different places, seven of which were during my stay in care. According to my current landlord, "Permanent Residence" is established by things like living in a place for two or more weeks and receiving mail at that location. I've had 13 of those, and when I sat down to type this I realized that this is precisely how I define home. It's not for the comfort level and certainly not for the people in it, but whether I've managed to be there for more than two weeks and can receive mail. 

I don't think I've had a real home in my entire life.

Tags:Child Welfare and Foster Care|Fostering Connections|Permanency (Foster Care)|Transitions to Adulthood (Foster Care)
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May 15, 2012

Guest Blog: "I Became a Foster Kid At 8, And Was Expected To Not Be One Anymore at 21"

posted by Barb, former foster youth, Adams County, PA

Love: unconditional, real, enduring, forgiving, forever, always, accepting. 

Maybe I love easily, and maybe I collect people. This is probably because I know what it is like to have no one. I know one thing's for sure: being a product of the system has expanded my scope of what family means. It has also twisted and made more elusive the word we all know: love. You see, I became a foster kid at the age of eight, and was expected to not be a foster kid anymore at the age of 21. I lucked out though; so often, the stories of youth aging out of foster care end with them connectionless and transient. They have nobody to look after them. I asked someone the other day, "How do we as a system not check up on someone who lived in our care for any period of time, not to mention those who have grown up in foster care for the majority of their childhood?" We have to start recognizing that even though we fight hard to not be a foster child's parent, who else are they going to call? Who else has been there for them?

Tags:Child Welfare and Foster Care|Extended Care and Reentry (Foster Care)|Normalcy for Foster Youth|Permanency (Foster Care)|Transitions to Adulthood (Foster Care)
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May 10, 2012

Guest Blog: "For Me, Being a Teen Parent in the Child Welfare System Was Very Hard"

posted by Samantha, former foster youth

My name is Samantha and I entered care at two years old. I was put into foster care because my mom had a lot of kids and was also on drugs. All the first foster homes I was placed in were really bad because of the treatment that the foster parents gave me. I was in five foster homes, one group home, two treatment placements, and a Supervised Independent Living program (SIL). I aged out of care at 21 and am now living in a transitional housing program. 

Tags:Child Welfare and Foster Care|Permanency (Foster Care)|Transitions to Adulthood (Foster Care)
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May 03, 2012

Aging Out Then and Now: A Call to Action from John LeVan, Foster Youth Alumni, Class of 1979

posted by John LeVan, Foster Home Finder and President, Board of Trustees, Coatesville Area Public Library, Pennsylvania

[Ed. note: This post is part of a series of blog posts Juvenile Law Center will be publishing during National Foster Care Month to call attention to issues facing foster youth who are aging out of the system]. 

Much of my childhood was spent in foster care in Pennsylvania. During that time, I moved approximately 25 times and went to five different schools. The experiences of growing up in foster care and the feelings of fear, worry, loneliness, confusion and depression that are associated with the realization that next year, next month, or next week you will be on your own transcend time. When I aged out of the foster care system in 1979 at the age of 17, I felt all of those feelings and more. 

 

Tags:Child Welfare and Foster Care|Extended Care and Reentry (Foster Care)|Permanency (Foster Care)|Transitions to Adulthood (Foster Care)
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