By Libby Smith
Libby Smith is a Special Projects Producer at CBS4. If you have a story you’d like to tell CBS4 about, call 303-863-TIPS (8477) or visit the News Tips section.READ MORE: Avs Rookie Goalie Justus Annunen Records First Career NHL Win In 7-5 Victory Over Flyers
DENVER (CBS4) – CBS4 begins a week long series examining the issues around “Aging Out,” the point when a teenager leaves the foster care system in Colorado.
Every week, Britt Moreno profiles a child living in foster care waiting for a family during CBS4’s Wednesday’s Child stories. This project looks at what happened when a child does not make that connection.
“What is it like for kids in that position in foster care?” Moreno asked a former foster care youth.
“Very dark, very lonely, very unpredictable,” replied Geqwan.
“I didn’t have nobody, so I felt depressed a lot of the time. I cried a lot,” said Celeste, another former foster care youth.
“They go throughout their lives and just feeling hopeless or even lonely,” said Tai, another former foster care youth speaking about other teens in foster care.
One-third of foster care youth who age out of the system will experience homelessness. Half of them will end up in jail. Many more will use drugs, resort to prostitution, and won’t be able to get a meaningful job.
“Just not making wise decisions,” said Krista, another former foster care youth speaking about the influences that impact you when you’re living along with no family to support you.
After several years of struggling, Krista is now going to school, and raising her two children. There are people and programs working hard to support young people as they age out of foster care.
“We all need encouragement,” said Anna Marie, a life coach working with Mile High United Way’s Bridging the Gap program.
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The people and programs help build foundations, introduce the youth to things they don’t know, and give them a hand up when they need it.
“One single caring adult makes the difference in a child’s success,” said Lauren Arnold, executive director of the Adoption Exchange.
The following are helpful resources for people who are aging out of foster care and for the people who care for them.
Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Public Awareness Campaign
Child Abuse & Neglect Hotline
Learn more about foster care and adoption in Colorado.
United Way Bridging the Gap
helping teens live on their own after foster care
Dream Makers Project
making dreams come true for former foster care youth
life skills program provided through human services dept. of each county
CBS4 Wednesday’s Child Section
The Adoption Exchange
promoting adoption for foster care youth
Adoption Exchange’s Birthday Wishes Program
Office of the Lt. Governor
SOAR! Youth & Adult Choir
soaryouthandadultchoir.org 720-218-1433 (Youth)
Libby Smith is a Special Projects Producer at CBS4. If you have a story you’d like to tell CBS4 about, call 303-863-TIPS (8477) or visit the News Tips section.