Impacts of the foster care system in the U.S.

Show appreciation to those dedicated to helping children in foster care during National Foster Care Awareness Month Photo Credits: child

Serena Randazzo, Staff Writer

The month of May is a lot more than the end of the semester – it’s National Foster Care Month to acknowledge those who do everything they can to help foster youth find permanent homes. Here at Mesa there is a program called, Fostering Academic Success and Transitions, this program serves current and former foster youth who want to attend college. They offer priority registration for classes, assistance in applying for financial aid and scholarships and life skills seminars and workshops For more information about FAST Scholars at Mesa stop by the EOPS office, I4-309.  

According to, there are nearly 443,000 children in foster care. states that “the U.S. foster care system aims to safely reunify children with their parents or secure another permanent home, through adoption.” KidsData also claims that 10% of foster youth “age out” of the system, meaning they became too old to stay in foster care services before reuniting with their families or being adopted. California now offers foster care services past the age of 18, extending to 21.

Children tend to come into the foster care system due to abuse, neglect, or other challenges. Those who experience abuse or neglect are at a higher risk of emotional, physical, social, and behavioral issues that result in coping skills not adequate for the environment, stated by Being in the foster care system can have a lasting impact on the children. When it comes to education those in the foster care system are more likely to lag behind their peers academically and are less likely to graduate high school or earn college degree compared to their peers, according to the same website.  Also stated was that those who have been in foster care are likely to have higher numbers of teen pregnancies and will have greater social isolation than the general public.

Anyone can get involved and have a positive impact on those in foster care. One way is by becoming a part of the Foster Youth Mentor program. Here in the San Diego County Foster Care system mentors are provided to youth starting at the age of 6. Being a consistent person in a foster youth’s life can have a positive impact on the child. Something else that can be a huge help is donating, and that doesn’t have to mean money. Donating gently-used items like clothing, duffle bags, suitcases, or school supplies help a lot. If you would like to donate, starting in the month of June Mattress Firm will be hosting a donation drive, themed around bedtime they are looking for items like pajamas, books, and bed time toys. Foster parents do get paid but tend to spend more money than the state provides to do everything they can to provide for the child. Whether it’s buying clothes, food, or school supplies for the children. Something small like helping a foster parent every week for an hour can be a huge help to the parent trying to balance everything going on. Advocating for foster youth can help too.

Take time this month to reach out and learn a little bit more about the foster care system and how everyone can play a role in raising awareness about foster youth. Take a moment to show appreciation to a foster parent, family member, child welfare professional or a community member that is working to help find children in foster care find permanent homes.