One of the leading causes of homelessness among youth in Canada is the so called "Aging out" of foster care.Aging out is a term that reeks of whitewashing ,lets call it what it truly is, the abdication of our responsibility to vulnerable youth.
With suicide rates among homeless youth that are more than ten times the national average for Canadian youth, and mortality rates that are eleven times greater, this abdication is a death sentence for many of these kids. While it may be true that given their histories of abuse and abandonment, homelessness isn't likely the sole cause of these numbers they do indicate that we must continue to offer support for these kids long after they "age out".
Over one-third of these kids never finish high school and many don't have jobs. Their rate of arrest, health problems, and welfare dependency are far higher than the population as a whole - as is their rate of homelessness.
Several studies have found that 30% to 49% of youth experiencing homelessness have been involved in child protection services or foster care in their lives Echoing these numbers Covenant House estimates that over a third of the homeless youth it encounters has been in foster care..According to the Toronto Community Foundation there are between 1,500-2,000 homeless youth in Toronto alone on any given night; approximately 10,000 different youth at any point in a year.
With the cost of keeping a youth in the shelter system estimated $30,000 – $40,000 a year and over $100,000 per year to keep one in jail, surely we can find the money to do the right thing and not run away from our responsibilities as parents. Yes parents, we as a society have taken on that role in these kids lives, and parenting is a lifelong commitment.