Fourth of July signifies our country’s independence. This celebration comes during a time when many young men and women in foster care have reached the age of 18 and have graduated from high school, thus becoming independent from the system too. These young adults become emancipated from the foster care system, leaving them feeling anxious, depressed, and alone. For many of these youth, the daunting statistic looms over their heads: nearly forty percent of former foster youth end up homeless within 18 months of being discharged from foster care.
At Hillsides, we are proud of our continued commitment to create safe places for youth even after they have emancipated from the foster care system. We believe it is our responsibility to find a safe place they can call home when they leave our residential treatment facility. We work with them in making sure they have a job. We encourage them to enroll in higher education or a vocational training program. We assure them that Hillsides will always be a supportive community that they can reach out to during challenging times.
So as I think about our country’s independence, I, too, think about our young adults and their newfound independence. In 234 years, Americans have worked together to build our country and make it what it is today. Together, we need to also work collectively to help shape our youth, especially vulnerable children and youth who rely on relative caregivers, foster parents, social workers, child advocates, mentors, volunteers, and donors. To learn more about how you can shape someone’s life, visit http://www.hillsides.org/.