Help for children who age out of foster care

When young adults have to leave foster care at 21, they are typically at a disadvantage due to a lack of resources.
Across the U.S., more than 23,000 children age out the foster care system every year.
Published: May. 29, 2023 at 7:50 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - An often-overlooked aspect of foster care is the real possibility that a child or teen will not be adopted before they turn 18 years old.

Once a teen in foster care is no longer a minor, they are required to leave their foster home by age 21 and are typically at a severe disadvantage due to a lack of resources to succeed. Many of these young adults must not only find employment or education opportunities but are forced to do so without any guidance, stable income, or reliable transportation.

Luckily, there is an 18 to 21 Program to aid those who age out of foster care.

Whether it’s reimbursement for housing or assistance in paying for school/work expenses, Tiffany Hopkins, the director of the program through the Department of Social Services, has a clear mission.

“I am there to be a support for them when they need it, and if they make a mistake, I am there to pick them up and be there to be a support for them also,” she said.

This compassion is palpable for members of the program like Kendall, who appreciates the cushion.

“They are not throwing things out for me,” Kendall said. “But if I am working for it, and I need help, they are always helping me.”

To find out more about the 18-21 program, contact Forever Family in partnership with Seven Homes Family Foster Care at 1-888-365-FAMILY or visit their website.