The increase in the number of youth in foster care is sobering. As of 2012, there were approximately 3,700 youth who were in the custody of the State of Kansas or Missouri residing in the Kansas City Metro Area.  The community has been unable to provide the foster home placements needed.  Of children in out of home care less than twelve months, those ages 13-15 have experienced more placements than any other age groups.

The National Runaway Switchboard estimates that on any given night there are approximately 1.3 million homeless youth living unsupervised on the streets, in abandoned buildings, with friends or with strangers. Homeless youth are at a higher risk for physical abuse, sexual exploitation, mental health disabilities, substance abuse, and death. It is estimated that 5,000 unaccompanied youth die each year as a result of assault, illness, or suicide.

On any given night in Greater Kansas City there are 2,000 “unattached”  teens living on the streets, sleeping in cars, or “couch surfing” with friends because they do not have a safe place to live. Many are abused and neglected kids who have run away from home.

  • Youth ages 12 - 17 are more at risk of homelessness than adults
  • Estimates of the number of pregnant homeless girls are between 6% and 22%
  • 46% of runaway and homeless youth reported being physically abused, 38% reported being emotionally abused , and 17% reported being forced into unwanted sexual activity by a family or household member
  • 75% of homeless or runaway youth have dropped out or will drop out of school

The situation is vastly different for approximately 25,000 youth in foster care who have been in the custody of the state prior to becoming an adult and “aging out”.  These young people are often faced with navigating this difficult transition with little to no support.  Without the support they need, the outcomes experienced by these young adults are alarming.

The personal impact to these young people should be cause alone to motivate us to act.

  • Only 58% will graduate high school by age 19
  • Only 3% will earn a college degree by age 25
  • 1 in 4 will be involved in the justice system within 2 years
  • 50% will be homeless within 6 months
  • 50% will experience at least one economic hardship
  • 71% of females will become pregnant by age 21
  • >50% will be unemployed by age 24
  • Each year 25,000 youth transition out of foster care nationally and incur $7.5 billion to your community over its lifetime.
  • In KC metro, 250 foster youth transition out of care annually at a cost of $75 million over your lifetime