Gold Dome should help young people age out of the system

It’s a big number. But, it is easy to overlook a number. So consider this: each of those 10,649 children has a name. She has a favorite color and a favorite animal. He has a laugh and tries so hard to be brave. Each of them will become adults and will have their own story.

But their challenges are unique.

Statistics from a variety of national studies make it real.

  • 70% of victims of human trafficking say they have already been a foster child.
  • 87% of boys end up spending time in jail.
  • 71% of girls say they are pregnant during their first year in foster care.
  • 97% of young people who leave the foster care system end up in chronic poverty or worse.

Fortunately, we live in a time when an increasing number of independent living resources are available for aging children, but obstacles and challenges continue to loom large. Typically, when foster children exit the system, they return to the instability of the familiar that perpetuates the cycle of generational poverty, substance abuse and incarceration.

Our own experiences with teens in foster care have reinforced that these tendencies are the norm, not the exception. But what we’ve also found is that the more barriers we can remove, the better these kids’ chances of success are.

One of our adopted daughters is in her first year of college right now. She succeeds with the ongoing support and guidance of a foster family – an advantage that most foster children do not have. Although she worked hard, she didn’t have the added pressures that often derail success.

That’s why Andy and I think it’s important that the Georgia Legislature pass a tax credit bill that would raise $20 million a year. This would remove some of the greatest barriers to success for children in foster care as they age out of care.

The Fostering Success Act is an income tax credit that would allow individuals, married couples and corporations to make an annual donation to support unadopted youth leaving foster care. The goal is to provide additional support for students as they navigate their post-secondary education. These funds would be intended to help cover the “global” costs that so often prevent children from continuing their education – the costs of housing, food, transport, advice, mentoring and other ancillary items. associated with the school.

Jesus said we should love our neighbors as ourselves. For me, this means ensuring that adoptive children have every opportunity to embrace a different life and grow into adulthood with the same opportunities as children raised in healthy families. Let’s give them every chance we can to avoid being another statistic.

Sandra Stanley is the mother of three adult children and wife of Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church. She is an author and speaker passionate about promoting foster care in the local church. Sandra received her undergraduate degree from Georgia Tech and her Master of Arts in Christian Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary.

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