What happens when youth age out of foster care?
Research shows that when youth are no longer supported by the traditional foster care system, and therefore age out of foster care, they are “at-risk” for devastating outcomes:
- 1 in 4 will be incarcerated within 2 years.
- 1 in 5 will be homeless within 2 years.
- Fewer than 1 in 6 will graduate from high school.
- They will face higher rates of unemployment, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, domestic violence and more.
- They will also face being pulled back into the dysfunctional biological family that agrees to house them again because they have nowhere else to turn.
We know that opening doors to youth aging out of foster care will make a positive, life-changing impact and create a new path to possibilities for these at-risk young people. We believe that surrounding these young people with the support they need to thrive, while teaching, guiding, coaching and challenging them will help them to develop into successful, independent adults.
That is why the Children’s Home Society of Virginia partnered with the Better Housing Coalition to create My Path Forward ( formerly The Possibilities Project), a privately funded program for youth ages 18 to 25 who have aged out of the traditional foster care system in Virginia.
This program aims to support youth with a stable housing environment, work prospects, as well as social and emotional therapy so that they continue to thrive and learn how to be self-sustaining and independent.
“Aged Out: Finding Home” is a new documentary that peeks into the lives of youth who were in My Path Forward from September of 2018 to December of 2019.
“There were several times that I burst into tears watching and re-editing certain parts of it because of the stories being told and the gravity of it all,” said Pam Hervey, director.
Keep reading to learn more about the documentary.
“Aged-Out: Finding Home”
“Aged-Out: Finding Home” is a documentary presented by VPM and produced by 19RED and Pam Hervey.
Directed by Pam Hervey, the documentary provides awareness of the difficulties faced by youth who age out of Virginia’s foster care system. The film also follows the story of the advocacy teams and families who are trying to improve Virginia’s statewide care system so that youth in the foster system can have better outcomes and find permanent homes instead of aging out of the system onto the streets.
The documentary includes interviews with four youth who were in My Path Forward, as well as:
- Nadine Marsh-Carter, President, Children’s Home Society of Virginia
- Greta Harris, CEO, Better Housing Coalition
- Allison Gilbreath, Voices for Virginia’s Children
- Suzanne Grable, New Kent Department of Social Services
- Senator Montgomery Mason
- Delegate Emily Brewer
- Governor Ralph Northam
When asked what she hopes viewers will take away from the documentary, Director Pam Hervey responded:
“We can’t forget about children after they are removed from a dangerous, neglectful or unhealthy home. We need to take care of them, and we need to provide them with the resources they need to survive in this world. Sadly, we don’t do that to its fullest potential in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and many kids age out of the traditional foster care system without finding a permanent home. My hope is that viewers will see the struggle, hear the stories and feel moved enough to learn more or take action.”
Watch the trailer below:
How to Support Virginia Adoption
Please share this blog and our social media posts with friends, family, and colleagues who you think would be interested in learning more and supporting our program.
We would also love if you could contribute in any way you can by donating after the telecast. You can donate here:
At Children’s Home Society of Virginia, we believe every child deserves a home. For 122 years, we have been dedicated to our mission of service to children and families in the commonwealth.
Currently, there are nearly 700 children waiting for an adoptive family in Virginia. Of those 700, children, 33% are 13 years of age or older. Together, we can change the grim outcomes for youth who age out of foster care.