Transitioning out of foster care

Editor’s Note: This is the last of a three-part series looking at life in California’s foster care system for both foster children and foster parents. All names of foster youth or former foster youth have been changed to protect identities.


In today’s society, when 45 percent of college students move back in with their parents after graduation, you’d be hard pressed to find a young adult who is prepared to be completely independent, without any emotional or financial support from his or her parents.

But for foster youth aging out of the court’s care, the expectations are different. By age 21, a foster youth is cut off financially and expected to independently balance all aspects of adult living – finding a job, paying for a place to live, learning to manage money, among many other tasks.

Prior to 2010, these same expectations were placed on 18 year olds aging out of foster care. However, thanks to California’s AB12, the California Fostering Connections to Success Act, foster youth can now remain dependents of the court past the age of 18. This doesn’t mean they will continue living with their foster family, but it does allow them to access support services funded by the state.

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