How many times did you call home when you were 18?
• Car out of gas.
• Overdrawn bank account.
• Girlfriend broke up with you.
You called home because you knew that there was someone on the other end who cared. Someone you could count on. Now, imagine not having had that.
Hundreds of children transition out of the foster care system in Broward each year as they turn 18. If you look a bit closer you find that 46% of them did not have a high school diploma, 25% of them had been homeless and 42% of them were parents themselves. Eighteen year old children were without parents and without a net. They needed a voice. They needed an advocate.
We first learned this in 1999. We immediately went to work. We met with these young people, we identified the gaps. We needed to understand what their future would be if we did not get involved. We convened the community. We brought together other funders and nonprofits, civic groups and government agencies. Together, we created a plan.
This is not an issue with easy or inexpensive answers. In the eight years that we have been working towards solutions, more than 10,000 hours and $1.5 million has been dedicated to helping these young people. And we’re all still working on it. Today though, these children do have resources, they do have a net and they do have a voice.