Growing pains can be hard to handle sometimes, but teens don’t outgrow the need for a loving family. There are thousands of older children who still need to be fostered or adopted by loving families nationwide. Foster care can make a major positive impact on these older teens. Let’s look at why.
Learn more about becoming a foster parent here!
The numbers behind teen adoption and fostering
More than 15,000 18-year-olds will age out of foster care without finding an adoptive family. Approximately one in five children in U.S. foster care waiting to be adopted are teens, but only 5% of all children adopted in 2017 were 15-18 years old. These kids won’t have anyone to call about a flat tire, job interviews, first dates, and so much more. Fostering and/or adopting these kids into a loving environment can impact their lives in a big, meaningful way. They also impact your life—helping you grow as a person and a parent in unexpected ways.
The challenges of at-risk teens’ future – foster parents can make a difference!
Teens who age out of foster care without a permanent support system are at increased risk of homelessness, young parenthood, low educational attainment, and other issues. Youth who age out of foster care are less likely to graduate high school and earn a college education too.
As a result, they often face challenges in finding gainful employment. For example, only half of youth who were once in foster care finish high school, and less than 3% graduate college. These devastating outcomes are often a result of emotional issues, difficulty achieving passing grades, and mental health challenges. However, committed foster parenting can help mitigate their risk status.
The emotional impact of foster care for teens
Foster care provides a safe place that allows youth and their birth family an opportunity to resolve conflicts and learn healthy skills so the youth can safely return home. Some birth families need help learning effective parenting skills, overcoming substance abuse, or learning healthy ways to cope with the trauma. Foster care allows time for this while attending to the child’s needs.
These adolescents, including teens, may have experienced abuse, neglect, or other family challenges. Foster families fill a void for these teens, providing care, support, love, and compassion kids need to heal and grow. And at the same time, foster parents themselves become enriched by the experience.
Foster Parents Adopt Teen Siblings from Foster Care
“We’re normal, we are not extraordinary people, we’re doing this because we love kids and we care about kids and we love people.”
Kelsey and Jason Stock are KVC foster parents who are about to adopt teen siblings from foster care. In this story from KSHB 41, they discuss their fostering and adopting journey and highlight the need to provide loving homes for youth in need, especially teens and sibling groups.
How You Can Help
In the Kansas foster care system, more foster parents are needed than ever before. The most significant way you can help is by becoming a foster parent. If you’re interested, we’d love to answer any questions you may have and guide you through the process. Click here to contact us!