November 18, 2015
Imagine being 18 years old and completely on your own.
That’s exactly what happens each year to 300 kids in San Diego County who turn 18 and exit the foster care system. These young people are expected to immediately make it on their own with almost no support. Not surprisingly, a significant number of transition age foster youth immediately face insurmountable obstacles:
While the lack of parental support during a foster youth’s formative years contributes to these dismal statistics, it’s very difficult for anyone to be independent at age 18. Kids raised in traditional families receive parental support long after age 18 and most don’t achieve independence until age 26. Kids exiting foster care are generally even less prepared to be self-sufficient.
North County Lifeline’s “LifeSpring” program was created in 2013 through a partnership between North County Lifeline and HomeAid; offering beds for up to five youth in our LifeSpring house. The program’s capacity has since increased to ten full units in a new apartment complex developed by Community Housing Works.
In addition to housing, LifeSpring provides transition age foster youth with counseling services that help them bridge the gap between foster care and independence:
Often it’s just the small things that become obstacles preventing transition age youth from becoming self-reliant: Just $25 can help buy move-in essentials for setting up a first independent home; $60 can purchase a one month bus pass, eliminating transportation problems that prevent youth from making it to school or work; and $600 can buy a year’s worth of clothing, including the all-important “job interview clothes”.
One youth in the LifeSpring program recently summed up his experiences this way: “When someone mentions foster youth, they only see the statistics – they see failure”. We invite you join North County Lifeline in helping our transition age youth beat these odds and bridge the gap from foster care to self-reliance.
Together we can provide a lifeline to transition age youth in need of our help.
Executive Director, North County Lifeline
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