May is National Foster Care Month

May is National Foster Care Month
Foster youth come in all colors. Please support.

May is National Foster Care Month!

As a former foster youth on my own at 14 years old who went on to attain 2 Bachelor of Science degrees (Finance/Economics), a law degree, and now have my own sports/entertainment law practice, as well as counsel Fortune 500 companies and nonprofits on peak performance strategy, appear on television, radio, and print, as well as lead ministries and appear on boards of prominent organizations, I am truly blessed.

It is a miracle when you consider the statistics:

17 % of foster youth remain in foster care for 5 years or more.

Foster youth are 6 times as likely to be physically and sexually abused than children not in the foster care system.

Roughly half of foster youth become homeless when they turn 18.

3 in 10 individuals of the American homeless population are former foster youth.

25% of former foster youth suffer from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), a higher rate than combat veterans.

Former foster youth have double the rate of depression and suicide rate as those not in the system.

Roughly half of former youth graduate from high school.

1.8% of former foster youth attain a four year college degree.

A not yet measurable number of former foster youth attain a post secondary degree.

 

Please support initiatives designed to help former foster youth "age out" of the system. It is a time many foster youth are 18, lost, without much hope, love, and support, and find themselves victim to drugs, criminal activity, and nonproductivity. Here's how you can get involved:

http://www.fostercaremonth.org/GetInvolved/Pages/default.aspx

Thank you.

 

Exavier B. Pope, Esq. is an entertainment and sports attorney, media personality, syndicated writer, Fortune 500 speaker and peak performance strategist, author, philanthropist, and sports business and law blogger for ChicagoNow. All opinions expressed are those solely of Mr. Pope.

(c) 2012, Exavier Pope

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    Youth in the foster care system at their teenage years will most likely remain in the system until they reach adulthood. Illinois is one of the few states where courts can and routinely do extend supervision until age 21, however many of these youth still struggle once they age out of care. Foster youth are expected to be “independent” at an age when most young people continue to receive significant financial and emotional support from their families. Without the proper support and guidance of caring adults, these foster youth face a daunting future filled with many challenges and uncertainties.

    In response to the crisis, in April of 2009, CASA of Cook County launched the Creating Independent Transitions for Youth (CITY) Initiative to expand the organization’s advocacy of abused and neglected youth. CITY works with the child welfare system to help abused and neglected youth ages 16 and older transition from foster care into adulthood. The goals of this initiative are to make sure that youth who are leaving the foster care system have their best interests represented in the child protection division of the Juvenile Court and that they have the adult relationships, education, housing, employment and life skills that they need to be successful on their own. By receiving guidance in gaining necessary financial, educational, and life skills, youth have the opportunity to live up to their fullest potential.

    During Foster Care Awareness Month we must reflect on how together we can ensure that all of our young people have a bright future. Through innovative initiatives and strategies we can better prepare youth as they make the often complex transition from foster care to adulthood. No one person or organization can do it alone. We can all play a role in supporting and guiding these youth to successful independence.
    ~Casa of Cook County

  • What an excellent comment. Thank you Casa of Cook County. I will be reaching out to partner with you on initiatives.

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