In 2014-15, the Junior League of Lancaster adopted the Issue Based Community Impact (IBCI) model. The Community Impact Committee researched our local community and inventoried our member’s passions & competencies. Aging Out of Foster Care is one of the two issues the league chose to adopt based on the following statistics.
In Lancaster County, there are 100 youth between 16 & 18 in the Foster Care System who will leave the Foster Care System without permanent families or supports.
Based on National averages, of those 100 youth,
- Less than 58 will graduate from high school.
- By age 25, only 3 will have graduated from college compared to 28% of all 25 year olds.
- 20 will be homeless at some point.
- 25 will be involved in the Justice system within 2 years of aging out.
- 35 (or 71%) of the females will be pregnant by age 21
- Only 50 will be employed at age 24
For the 2015-16 year, an Aging Out of Foster Care Committee was formed. The committee was tasked with developing relationships with community organizations and developing a multi-year plan in order to make a lasting impact on the lives of youth that are Aging Out of Foster Care.
Through interviews with locals organizations and agencies, we have identified the following items as barriers to sustainable independent lives:
- Education to make a livable wage
- Affordable housing
- Mental Health
- Support Systems & Mentoring
- Communication & Access to Services
The league has embraced Aging Out of Foster Care. In the 2015-16 year,
- The Author’s Luncheon started the “Fostering Strength: Apartment in a Suitcase” project which was then expanded to service projects with our cornerstone sponsors, Lancaster Country Day School and Linden Hall.
- The Spring 2016 new members will work with a home for boys who are preparing to leave care without a support network.
- The committee has started to compile a list of community resources for youth mentors who may not be aware of support opportunities for their mentee.
Want to find out more about our Aging Out of Foster Care initiative? Are you a community organization that would like to work with us? Please contact the committee at AgingOutOfFosterCare@jllancaster.org