EPIC Blog: Aging out of Foster Care - 4KIDS
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EPIC Blog: Aging out of Foster Care

February 27th, 2023 l Author: Ken Lacy

For most teenagers, turning 18 doesn’t bring a whole lot of change. It brings the potential of challenges and the feeling of freedom, but the reality is, many are still supported and being taught by their parents along the way. For a child in foster care, turning 18 brings a significant amount of change, and even more emotions.


Aging Out Of Foster Care Can Be An Emotional Rollercoaster

At the age of 18, a child ages out of foster care. Usually, this time comes with a wide range of feelings – from excitement to nerves, to being completely overwhelmed. There is also the possibility that these teens feel nothing at all. For their whole lives, they were told what to do and where to go as a part of the foster care system. So many still find themselves just waiting to hear what comes next.

Although there is a lot of excitement in this season, aging out of the foster care system can be an uphill battle. Teens go from having multiple adults telling them what each day is going to look like, to having very few people surrounding them. This could bring an eagerness to finally make decisions, or fear for what’s to come, or relief that they can do things they’ve always wanted to. Whether it’s rebellion or thrill, this period of time typically brings swift learning for these 18-year-olds.

TIL 2:25 Helps These Teens Transition

4KIDS has a program called TIL 2:25, which is Transitional Independent Living designed to help teens through these challenging, powerful few years. It is a safe environment for them to explore their own decision making and find out what works and what doesn’t. Each home has a Resident Advisor (RA). After they are settled in, they might wake up asking the RA what’s for breakfast. The RA would then direct the teen through the process of making decisions like, “What food is here? Do I have to buy food? What do I know how to cook? Do I have money to buy food? Do I need help? Who would I ask for help?” etc. These are all things that residents may have never had to think about before. It’s important for them to realize all that goes into decision-making and the responsibilities that come with being an adult.

These young adults go through their own transitions and struggles as they are figuring out what comes in adulthood. Helping them takes patience and flexibility without judgment. It may be hard to watch the failures and bumps in the road, but it is so rewarding to see the stages and growth (physical, emotional, and spiritual) that come in the gap between childhood and adulthood.

“You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame.”- Joel 2:26