May 22, 2012
Guest Blog: "When I Turn 18, I'm Requesting To Stay In Foster Care Until Age 21"
[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.]
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.
I'm currently in a Supervised Independent Living (SIL) placement. It's a program where I have my own apartment that is supplied by my foster care agency. I have a worker who checks on me weekly. I'm getting ready to graduate high school, and I am enrolled at the local community college. In June, when I turn 18, I'm requesting to stay in foster care until I'm 21. While I may not have had a choice to enter foster care as a child, I am making the choice to stay in care as a young adult.
Getting a board extension is very beneficial. It's like you get a few more years to prepare yourself for the real world and take your life into your own hands. It will also help me further my education. I want to graduate college and become a social worker and lead youth-led movements. If I left care at 18 I would be homeless, have nowhere to go, and I wouldn't have a stable home. That pressured me to get a board extension.