Older foster children and youth have a pressing need for permanency. Almost half of the 538,801 children in out-of-home care at the end of the federal 2000 reporting period were ages 10 to17 (Gibbs et al., 2004). As one youth explained, “Our time is almost up. We want a home, and people we can call parents.” Still, tens of thousands of foster youth emancipate from the system without connections each year. This crisis has provoked a groundswell of action by youth advocates, and a call from young people themselves to change the system. It is not typical for youth to leave foster care and function effectively on their own. Older children need parents and the support of committed adults. Research shows that disadvantaged young people who are connected to adults do better: They relate to others with ease, take fewer risks, have better health, and overcome adversity more easily.
The North American Council on Adoptable Children
for The Annie E. Casey Foundation Family to Family Initiative