We see homeless people in Shasta County every day, but most people are unaware that many of them came out of the foster system, but never got a forever family. This is a reality nationwide. Homelessness is often a by-product from a lack in healthy family infrastructures. In 2014, California had 62,097 children in foster care. That’s almost 15 percent of the total number of children in foster care throughout the United States. Foster care adoption in Shasta County would make a huge difference in that number. Here’s why.
The Stats on Foster Children and Homelessness
Children who grow up in foster care without being adopted or developing a long-term relationship with a foster parent are more at-risk for poverty, substance abuse, incarceration, and homelessness. Here are a few statistics that show the sad truth:
- Over one out of every three runaway youths were in foster care in the year before they became homeless.
- Over one out of every five youths who end up at a homeless shelter come directly from a foster home or a group home.
- Approximately 45 percent of those who age out of foster care become homeless within one year.
- In California, up to 80 percent of adults in the state’s correctional facilities had been wards of the state.
- Around 65 percent of youths who age out of the foster care system at age 18 have no place to go.
The Solution to Homelessness
The need is great, but it’s not outside of our ability to change the statistics. In 2014, Shasta County had 624 children in the foster system. While that number is still high, it’s much more possible to address. There are approximately 36,000 households in Redding. If only 624 of them adopted one child, every foster child would have a family!
Every child needs a place to call home. And when that child reaches 18, they still need an adult that can act as a parent–someone to give advice, a listening ear, encouragement, and all those other things that good parents do.
The next time you see a homeless person in Shasta County, think about how you could make a difference. Could your family be the answer to a foster child’s basic need to belong? Could you take one homeless person off the street? At Children First, we are always looking for families that can make a difference. You can do that by choosing foster care adoption of Shasta County children.