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For my final research paper, I will be exploring the topic of homelessness as children age out of foster care. Too often, older children in foster care are not adopted and slowly age out of the system. With little to no support system to help them, they’re often forced to live on the streets and are unable to support themselves. In my paper, I will look at why so many former foster children become homeless and how we as social workers can begin to remedy this problem.
One of the main points I’m going to look at is why so many foster children become homeless after aging out of the system. One paper suggests that one of the reasons is because foster children “must make the transition to adulthood largely on their own”(Dworsky, A., & Courtney, M. E.). As opposed to children who still live with their biological parents or have been adopted, children who age out of the foster care no longer have a stable home and source of care. Because of this, it is estimated that “ between 11% and 36%…become homeless during the transition to adulthood”(Dworsky, A., Napolitano, L., & Courtney, M. ). I will delve further into accusations and find more statistics on the typical age of homeless former foster care adults as well as the typical length of homelessness.
The other key point that I want to address is how social workers are currently helping with the problem and how we can increase the effectiveness of getting foster children off the streets. One measure that is currently being used is that “states will be required to track the outcomes of current and former foster youth into early adulthood”(Dworsky, A., & Courtney, M. E.). This holds states accountable for helping children get off the streets and to make sure they’re getting proper care. Another viable option is for states to “consider passing legislation that would allow youths to remain in foster care until their 21st birthday”(Dworsky, A., Napolitano, L., & Courtney, M.). Although this is a short term solution, it would help youth to get a start in their adult life before having to move out on their own. These are just two of the solutions that I will be researching as well as looking into the legislation that is considered being passed and looking into more recent ideas.
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