…[Imagine] what it’s like to be a teenager in foster care. As these young people approach legal adulthood, they face tremendous obstacles, including the unrealistic expectations that they will be able to succeed on their own when they turn 18.
In fact, over the past decade, more than 200,000 teenagers have aged out of foster care at 18—often without achieving those permanent family connections or those critical building blocks of support. Consequently, too many of them face challenges immediately upon leaving foster care—challenges that don’t just affect this cohort of young people, but that affect us all.
A study issued in May 2013 by Jim Cassey Youth Opportunities Initiative—and illustrated in a new infographic—shows that, on average, for every young person who ages out of foster care, taxpayers and communities pay $300,000 in social costs like public assistance, incarceration, and lost wages to a community over that person’s lifetime. Do the math and you can conservatively estimate that this problem incurs almost $8 billion in social costs to the United States every year.