From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor's rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own. Carl Schurz

Sunday, July 3, 2011

"Aging Out" : A recipe for despair

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.


  1. I work for a social services agency that serves youth under 18. Our business is both Youth Protection and Young Offenders. We take care of kids in placement, be they in detention or foster care, residential treatment or group homes.

    We also started offering programs for older adolescents to teach them life skills like how to look for an apartment, how to write up a cv, job training referrals, adut ed referrals, etc. We also have a few supervised apartments.

  2. Great stuff ck,we need much more like this and many more like you. These kids need support well into "adulthood"