Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The kids our society forgets

Something that has been on my heart for a long time now is the fact that foster children are released from the system at age 18 and just abandoned to become adults. I have always been so blessed with friends and family and a support system, I don't know where I would be if I bounced from home to home and then was dumped on the street as soon as I turned 18.

The book for my church book club that I lead this month was Between Sundays by Karen Kingbury. I only knew a small bit about the book before I read it. And, who knew, it deals with foster kids and their hard road. It is a great, great read and I highly recommend that you pick up a copy and read it. It's an extremely touching story of a young man who's single mother dies and the boy believes his father is the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, Aaron Hill.

That brings us to the actual quarterback for the 49ers, Alex Smith. Alex Smith has started the Alex Smith Foundation to help foster kids exiting the system to have support in getting jobs, housing and the education they need to succeed. Why is he doing this? This is why (taken from the Alex Smith Foundation website):

Why does our society spend billions of dollars on foster children, only to abandon these kids when they’re on the verge of becoming adults? It seems like we’re dropping the ball at the goal line.

Within two years of leaving the system, why do:
• 50% end up unemployed?
• One-third require public assistance?
• Almost one-third become homeless?
• 25% become incarcerated?
• Less than one in 10 attend college, and only one in 100 actually graduate?
Source: Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles

At the Alex Smith Foundation, we don’t believe in sitting
along the sidelines, watching foster children fail. And, we’re not as interested in “why,” as in “how”—how can we help?

I appreciate so much what this foundation has started. Not just as support for foster kids but they are actually working to change the laws for foster kids. If you have wanted to help, but foster care in your home is not the right road for you, please consider helping Alex and his foundation, or write your legislators to encourage them to help change the laws and hopefully change the statistics of these forgotten children.


Anonymous said...

Well I came here to give a LOL on your comment on Riverkids and I ended up in tears.
As I have been on the internet looking at kids who need adoption, it was the older ones who broke my heart. They are often already deeply scarred, disillusioned and...really, what words can describe their condition? I could only say, "My God...these broken children..."
Thanks for your post and giving us a way that we can help. It also gives me ideas of specific ministries in the church that are FOR foster kids to be restored...so now I am off and thinking...
love, Theresa

Mark Hunsaker said...

Rock on lady. I love you and I love your heart. Continue your surrender to Christ and He will continue His work in you to help make an impact on this broken world.

Riverbird said...

Wow I knew the stats were bad, but I didn't know they were THAT bad! I was one of the rare foster kids that aged out and actually went to college and graduated, but I did have a great foster mom that continued to support me after I aged out. Anyway, I don't know if you'll see this since I'm so late to comment, but thanks for spreading the word and I will definitely check out that book.

By the way you don't know me but I found you through the Bettendorf's blogs.

debhmom3 said...

Thanks for the comment, riverbird, it is good to know that there are wonderful foster parents out there who will help kids like you were after they exit the system. Thanks for sharing a success story!