By Paula Reed Ward, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Every year in the United States, nearly 28,000 children age out of the foster care system without having any permanent family ties.
A new report released Thursday concluded that a large number of those young adults are left without adequate services, resources or support systems to allow them to become productive citizens.
"The cost to society is tremendous," said Adam Pertman, executive director of the New York-based Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, which released the report.
To reduce the number of those who remain in the system until adulthood, the report recommends that human service agencies work harder to achieve permanent homes for older children who enter the system.
"It is a disturbing trend that more and more young people are aging out of care without any permanent connections," the report concludes. "Every youth who emancipates without reunification or permanency is a youth society has failed."
When that happens, Mr. Pertman said, too often those young adults don't have access to education or jobs. They have a higher rate of unwanted pregnancy and are more likely to engage in criminal behavior.
"It costs us money," Mr. Pertman said. "It costs society far more in the long term than to invest in doing it right now and reap the benefits of it."
Mr. Pertman, however, also believes Americans are, generally, bad at long-term investment.
"We as a culture give a lot of lip service to children being our future, but in most states, in tough economic times, one of the first cuts we make is to children," Mr. Pertman said. "They become invisible. They don't vote. They don't lobby." And they don't know they can SUE.
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11203/1162135-454.stm
The report is NEVER TOO OLD: ACHIEVING PERMANENCY AND SUSTAINING CONNECTIONS FOR OLDER YOUTH IN FOSTER CARE
And once again, what about the Good Enough Homes these kids were kidnapped from to begin with?