Helping children in foster care transition

Posted at 7:23 PM, May 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-05 19:23:06-04

18 year old Victoria Toledo struggled while in foster care.

She did not finish school, but now she has a part-time job and working on getting her GED.

"I've been out there before, without a place so now that I have somewhere to sleep and have people that really care about me, it feels like I am an adult it feels like I'm am not really out there by myself," she said.

The people who care for her is the staff at Homes of Hope.

Their independent living program helps those who have aged out of foster care, offering support and guidance on how to live productive lives - things they didn't learn before.

The program's director Joshua Kolkana said, "If we don't as a community and a society take the time to invest in life and teach them those skills and take them through those things maybe they never experienced, we will all fail."

According to the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities initiative, 26,000 people age out of foster care in America each year. If they haven't found a permanent family, they're more likely not to graduate from high school or college. They're also more likely to become homeless.

Kolkana said, "If they don't get the skills set that they need before their mid 20's, it will carry on into adulthood, long term." 

Victoria said, "Once you feel safe, you feel confident in yourself because you feel that you can do anything, no matter what obstacles are going to be there."