A NEED TO HELP
The recent economic crisis has left many people financial insecure and without jobs. Individual states are facing extremely terrible deficits and have started to develop budget solutions. California is no exception with its $25 billion-plus deficit. California may also have one of the most difficult deficits to start mending. Newly elected California Governor Jerry Brown has recently proposed a budget proposal that would cut funding to welfare and healthcare. Needless to say these cuts would make life much more difficult for groups of citizens that are already in financially unstable conditions. One of these often forgotten groups is foster care children.
Foster care children are fully dependent on the state for many different kinds of support, including financial. This is one of the groups that would seriously feel the implications of California budget cuts. These children are extremely vulnerable due to their lack of experience and voice in the political system. Therefore, it is the responsibility for non-profits like Monit Land Company Foundation and Olive Crest to assist these disadvantaged youth. Within this group of foster care youth is a subgroup that has always been in an even more dramatically unfortunate situation. This group consists of youth aged 18-21 who faces the hardships of aging out of the foster care system. These budget cuts would put these youth at an even greater disadvantage.
The foster care system is meant to be a temporary solution for children; however, it is not possible for the state to secure a permanent home or support system for all 500,000 children that are in the foster care system nationally. In 2007, 29,000 of these youth aged out of the system, and had spent an average of five years in the foster care system (Starks). Even though many foster children are eventually placed, these about 29,000 emancipated foster youth are in an extreme disadvantage over their non-foster care system peers. Since most foster children have experienced neglect, abuse and/or abandonment, they usually suffer from extreme personal, behavior, and mental disorders. They face a disconnect with most of the rest of society due to these challenges. Even if foster youth do not have any disorders they are still in a disadvantage due to a lack of any permanent shelter or support system. This lack of stability combined with these disorders is even more detrimental to the youth (Uesugi).
Growing up and becoming an independent adult is not supposed to be a shocking process. Instead, in order for people to become functioning adults in our society, the process must be smooth and with guidance. Most youth transitioning into adulthood receive extensive support from their families. This support extends in many aspects of life from a place to live while they find a job and save to financial support “According to recent estimates, parents provide a total of roughly $38,000 for food, housing, education, or direct cash assistance to their adult children between the ages of 18 and 34”, or even just emotional support (Dworsky). These emancipated foster youth are instead “thrown out” at the age of 18 into a world with no one supporting them. While more mentorship and transitional programs have started develop there are still are large portion of these emancipated youth that have nowhere and no one to turn to for any sort of support or assistance.
These youth do not have the mental or emotional maturity to cope with transitioning into adulthood on their own. The ability to take on adult responsibility can only be developed with the help of stable external forces that give the youth a sense of support and dependability, “the ability to take on adult responsibility is not something that happens automatically as a youth turns 18” (Valdez). The trauma that most of these youth have experienced even further debilitates...