Creating a Social Program
June 17, 2012
Hope Tree Introduction
Although it may not be cost effective now, young adults with more adequate life skills will have a more positive effect on society as a whole. Hope Tree is a community based social program creating a safety net for young adults about to “age out” of the foster or group home system. For these youth with already troubled pasts of neglect, abuse, and abandonment issues; running as far and as fast from the system seems like a good idea. The problem with this logic is that many of them are unprepared for actual if on their own, often having no means to fall back on and nowhere to go. Being one of these “aged out” youth myself, I am all too aware of the challenges these children face and aim to change this growing epidemic. This is an increasing problem that overloads the current systems and programs, with many people not understanding how it affects them. When these youth are forced by lack of skills, knowledge and education; it is society that foots the bill through increased taxes making this a social problem that society ultimately pays for. Problem being addressed
The problems being addressed by this program is that Gee (2012), according to the U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 24 thousand foster care children “age out” of care and find themselves “in” trouble. Many states and communities do not have the resources to address these concerns. The concerns that this program is designed to change are that of education, not only of schooling but of life skills. It also creates a stable living situation to youth that would otherwise be homeless, with no means of supporting themselves. The demographics for this program are young adults ages 16-24, who have either aged out of the foster system, group home or were emancipated. These youth have issues trusting, no idea how to cook, pay bills, or simple things like fill out a job applications. I want to address this problem because one I know how it feels to have to rely on myself and have no actual clue on how to do it. The other reason I wanted to create this program is because I feel that with increased support and education the differences we make are going to better communities, society, and have less of a drain on an already overloaded system. According to Douglas W. Nelson, President of the Annie E. Casey Foundation; disconnected youth (individuals ages 18 to 24), who are not enrolled in school are not working and have no degree beyond High School represent approximately 15% of all 18 to 24 year olds. Nelson also points out how critical it is to help at risk youth. Nationally “over 3.8 million youth face a greater likelihood of bad outcomes now and in the future, which holds severe implications for our society (Street Sights, 2010). I estimate that within a year participants will be on their way to meeting their goals to establishing a permanent residence, job, and life skills that are needed to adjust to life outside of an institution. Analysis
The cause for this problem is that at 18 teens are kicked out of the foster system and group homes to find themselves without any place to go. They are unable to fend for themselves and have no support or resources to fall back on. I have learned that there is an exception to this that even I was unaware of, and that is that they are able to sign themselves back into the foster system as long as they are continuing education. However, this does not include those discharged from group homes still leaving many youth still homeless. The consequences are that these youth are homeless, jobless, have no support system and are then forced to do things to support themselves that may have legal ramifications. Littlefield (n.d.), “Foster care studies show that 25 percent of “aged out” foster kids must earn a living without a high school diploma or a GED. At least 20 percent of have been homeless and fewer than 20 percent are able to...