Forever parents are vital to the success of a youngster that turn 18 and ages out. Although a young person may move out on their own after they age out, but they still need support during this journey. Just because a kid graduates from high school, attends college, gets a job, or moves into an apartment doesn’t mean that they don’t need a parent or a support system.
They are still kids and they will still be hit by the curve-balls life throws at all of us.
Two years ago, we had our 17 year old daughter move out of our home and give independent living a shot. Humbly, she came back to our home at 19 years old when the couches she was surfing on dried up.
This wasn’t an “I told you so” moment, instead, I used it as a teaching moment. My goal was to teach her that it doesn’t matter how old she is, she will always be my child.
It also gave me an opportunity to show the younger kids in the house that this will always be their home. Regardless of what one of the family members are going through, mom and dad will be there to help.
I also know the statistics that she is up against.
African-American youth who have aged out of the foster care system are three times as likely as white youth formerly in foster care to be looking for work¹.
I remember being 18 years old; I thought I knew it all. However, once a week, I went back home to my dad’s house for a hot plate and some support. My Dad would slip me a $20 bill; he was my dad up until the day that he died and, God-willing, I will be the same for my children.
One day, my children will have children. If I did my job correctly, they will be forever parents to their children and a cycle will be broken.
(1.Statistic from Brookings Institute. (2012). Pathways to the Middle Class: Balancing Personal and Public Responsibilities. Washington, D.C.: Sawhill, I. et. al.)