Each year, over 26,000 foster youth “age out” of the child welfare system in the United States. In Maryland, the majority of foster youth over the age of 14—a total of 4,100 at the end of FY 2012—will remain in care until they “age out” between the ages of 18 and 21. While some of these youth may transition to independence smoothly and successfully, many more face significant challenges finding and maintaining adequate housing.
Advocates for Children and Youth has identified several key strategies for reducing homelessness among former foster youth to help ensure that foster youth have safe, stable and affordable housing upon aging out of the child welfare system. In addition to providing a range of supports and services, including access to health care, after youth age out of care, it is especially important that transition planning and financial literacy training begin well before emancipation.