Aging Out Stories
We want to hear your story about aging out of foster care.
It doesn’t matter if you are 18 or 81. How did you age out of the system? What happened in that time of transition? Was there good and bad, or sad? Was there someone who helped you find your way? We want to hear the reality for youth aging out of foster care – will you help by telling us your story?
For privacy, stories will be published with only first name or initials.
Submit your story to Trinity Opportunity Alliance by completing the form below or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking back, I describe my last foster care placement as “the last straw”. At 17, I ran away and never wanted to go back. I begged my social worker to help emancipate me early, but instead of cutting me loose, she introduced me to the woman who would change my life.
I know my new foster mother as “my grandmother”. My Grandma welcomed me with open arms and encouraged me to make something of my life, starting with enrolling in college. At 17, I took her advice. She became my greatest role model. She loves you for who you are.
My grandmother always remained positive and willing to listen. After emancipating at age 19, I enrolled in college and graduated from California State University, Los Angeles, with a bachelor’s degree in social work.
I believe that every foster child deserves the love of a Grandmother.
It takes at least one caring adult that believes in you to become successful. I look at foster care as the culture I grew up in. Those experiences have become a part of who I am.
I've always believed, from a very young age, that it could always be worse.
There is always someone who will have it remarkably better than you.
There will always be someone wishing they could have it as good as you do now.
It may be because I never had another existence to compare it to.
Or maybe, it was just the perspective I chose.
Biologically, I was born the last of 9 children, 5 boys, 3 girls and a surprise...me.
Most, if not all, had been in and out of the "system" throughout their childhood.
My time started when I was just 6 months old, removed from the home under allegations of abuse and neglect…
I aged out of the system in 1998. I was very fortunate to be a part of the Casey Family Program and received case management and financial support through college until 2002. I wished I had received more financial literacy education. I was receiving a monthly stipend that was enough to cover my rent while I was going to school but as soon as school ended, I stopped receiving that money and was left with no way to pay my rent so I became homeless. I was able to live with friends for a period of time until I could figure out my financial situation but I felt very ill equipped to support myself. I was also very naïve about the ways in which trauma had effected me. I wished that I had had more resources, other than just therapy which I was sick of at that point, that could have told me how to do self-care.
It's only now, 20 years after aging out, that I'm really starting to understand how to really take care of myself; physically, emotionally and spiritually. I think that because I was so high functioning, everyone just assumed I was fine when in reality I was experiencing a lot of emotions that I didn't understand or know how to deal with.
I was 8 years old when I entered into foster care. I was beaten and neglected by my grandmother at the age of 8 therefore I was taken out of a class I truly loved, which was reading, and given over to foster care and taken to S. Residential Group Homes with my youngest brother R. (names removed for privacy) who at the time was 5 years of age.
By April 2014 I was incarcerated at Adobe Mountain School. Adobe Mountain School is a facility that rehabilitates incarcerated youth under the age of 18. On April 1st I was brought up into the administration office which is not unusual -- that was the area of discipline besides separation…
I was still relatively new to the system when I found myself hitting the age of majority. When I was 15, I had found myself thrust into the system, alone. Sure, my biological family was there, but they were not there. When I ended up in my placement of which I will age out from, I was bitter. I was quiet, and my silence showed hatred….
I remember aging out of foster care like it was yesterday, I was terrified. I knew the next step was all me. No one was out there to lean on, no one sitting at home worried about my safety, no empty bedroom at my parents house to land in if I fell. I had gone eleven years in the foster care system without ever learning the importance of vehicle maintenance, the credit system, a resume, or how important it is to save money. Honestly, I didn't even know how to make myself presentable; makeup and fashion are not exactly priority lessons for foster kids.
I left the system with as much as I came to it: a black bag with my clothes and closest possessions…
… As most youth approach their 18th birthday, they are excited about new independence. As an “adult”, they may feel ready to make their own decisions, but they also know they can still rely on their family for their support. For youth in foster care, turning 18 is most often overwhelming. The services and guidance they have relied on, can easily come to an end. Without legal permanency, these young adults find themselves faced with the possibility of not having the people or supports that can help guide them as they transition to becoming an adult in this complicated world. Having someone to provide guidance, support, and practice with decision making can certainly help make this transition easier.
For me, I was in and out of foster care my entire life…
I was in and out of foster care since I was 5. The first time I was brought into foster care because my stepfather had molested me from age 5 to around 10 or 12. The third time I was in care was because my mother was on drugs. I had a great case manager. When I was 16, I transitioned to independent living and cut a lot of ties with my family for a while, and just focused on myself. I stayed in a group home until I was 20. I was sad to grow up and be on my own, as my group home manager was also known as my foster mom. She was always there to help me, and she still helps me to this day. Now I am 21, and a medical assistant, always striving for more knowledge.
When I was a little kid, I just remember growing up having a bad childhood. My mother was really not there — she had a kid personality and I was basically raising myself. I had to learn things on my own. When I was about 15 my mom met a guy online. He started coming over more, my mom forgot about me, and this guy was basically raising me…
I went into foster care at 14 when my father gave up his parental rights. I made the decision to stay in foster care because I knew that I did not have a chance being with my father. I got kicked out of the group home one week before turning 18 years old. I am the first graduate from my siblings that got a high school diploma and started college. I did everything on my own because then the subsidy for education was only until you turned 21.
At 18, I moved to Peoria, Arizona, where I rented a room from this wonderful lady name Laura. I found a job working full time at Goodwill while going to school part time. It was a struggle for me at first because I did not have any support from family, just the groups. I became a youth leader in My Life; Youth Advisory Board; JFCS; and the AASK mentoring programs. Even until this day, I am still able to reach out to my mentor, Kim, from the AASK mentoring program, and the director from My Life, Greg.
I had to learn on my own that life was not getting any easier for me, but I managed through all my struggles! Life is what you make it. There's hope because every thing happens for a reason.
I am 18 years old.
I have been in foster care since I was 15 years old -- probably not the worst age to be put in care.
The first time I was in a group home I was put with my sister, and my two brothers went to a different placement. That was really hard for me because I was the oldest, and not only that, I’m very protective, so that literally broke me. I would cry for weeks about that….
Submit Your own Story
*Anyone submitting a story must be 18 years of age or older.