The “Age-Out”: Why it’s critical we work together to help foster care alumni make the transition to adulthood
Every year there are over 25,000 teenagers and young adults that “age-out” of the foster care system. This transition to life outside of foster care can be an exciting time for them, but can also be overwhelming, scary, and stressful. An alumnus of the foster care system may not have developed meaningful connections to help them on their journey, and not know who they can turn to for help and support. They may resist seeking out previous contacts they had within the foster care system because they fear that they may be required to go back into the “system” in order to receive help or support. Or they may not know what services are available to them, which may cause them to struggle to gain footing once they leave foster care.
Foster Care Alumni of America (FCAA) is a national membership organization that provides support and encouragement, personal and professional development training, mentoring and coaching, resource education, and encourages alumni to use their voices to make changes to the foster care system. We currently have 17 chapters in 17 different states across the country. Our chapters provide many opportunities for alumni (and our allies), to find support and opportunities to give back to their communities. During the month of May, many of our chapters hosted family reunions within their state. Our family reunions allow members to come together and to feel a part of our family; and to bring awareness to foster care issues during Foster Care month.
FCAA believes that it is important for public and private agencies to work together to ensure the well-being of children and families. In March, SCAN of Northern Virginia graciously agreed to share their office space with us and because we value the work that they do, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be associated with their organization. Through our association, we look forward to future opportunities to enhance and support one another’s missions.
If you are interested in learning more about FCAA and how you can get involved, you can visit our website at www.fostercarealumni.org. If you work with teens and young adults who are getting ready to transition from foster care and could use additional support and connections, please send them our way. If you would like to support a local chapter or our national efforts, we’d love to talk with you.
Adam Robe, MSW
CEO Foster Care Alumni of America
May is National Foster Care Month, and Adam’s post is the second of a two-part blog series on foster care. The first post, Celebrating Foster Care (and being glad there’s less of it)! was written by Lindsay Ferrer, CASA Case Supervisor.