Less that half of former foster youth are employed at 23, and only 3 percent have finished college (compared to 28% of the general population with a BA or higher).
The teen birth rate for girls who’ve been in foster care is more than double the rate of their peers outside the foster care system.
Foster care alumni are 7x more likely to become drug addicted and twice as likely to experience alcoholism.
The rate of bulimia is seven times higher.
The rate of PTSD among former foster youth is five times that of the general population and, at 21.5%, exceeds the rates for American war veterans.
[stats taken from the Casey National Alumni Survey]
* * *
There is one simple prayer I pray every night, every time I kiss their heads, and on every drive to work.
Please, please, let them be 3 less.
Let them pour themselves into their education and be passionate about success.
Let them always feel whole despite their losses.
I pray that they allow themselves to dream never-ending dreams. Dreams big enough to make up for their peers, brothers and sisters, who are unable to do the same.
Let them know hope and inspiration and determination to their very core.
Let them be strong but may there always be a softness in their strength.
I pray that I can keep up. That I am always striving along with them. That I am deserving and have the skills to support their limitless potential.
Let them know that they deserved to be cherished. By every teenage fling, employer, friend, and spouse. Let them never settle for anything less.
I pray that they may one day have children, but only if it’s their choice to do so. And if it is their choice, I pray that they have children who bring them as much joy as mine do me.
But most of all, I pray with all my heart (and occasional tears) that they may be 3 less.