Someone (actually several people) that I follow on Twitter “tweeted” about this really good article that touches on many of the issues faced by young adults when they “age out” of foster care. I really hope you will take the time to read it (click here).
It’s important for everyone to remember that kids who are in foster care are not there because they are bad kids. They are not there because they did something wrong. Likewise, when they reach the age of legal adulthood and “age out” without having a family support system, they are once again in a situation that is not of their own doing.
Many of these young adults become homeless, at least for some period of time in their lives. Some commit crimes. Plenty of young women – often starved for love and affection and lacking self-esteem – become young single mothers. There are obviously lots and lots of potential problems in the road they face as young people entering society for the first time as adults.
Am I excusing bad behavior because someone comes from a difficult childhood and/or lacks a family? Of course not. I am only saying that it’s something to keep in mind. You may often see these “aged out” young people without even realizing it: The young man on the bus who looks like a hardened “street thug”, the too-young mother in the grocery line with the food stamps or WIC check, the guy with the “attitude” vibe whom you sub-consciously (or consciously) steer clear of when walking down the street. Sometimes these are those kids.
All I’m suggesting is that we all judge just a little bit less and care a little bit more. It may seem like it won’t matter, won’t make any difference. I can tell you from a lot of personal experience that it can matter.
Just something to consider.