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The Why

What does aging out mean?

Every single year, over 23,000 youth “age out” of the foster care system at the age of 18. This means that teens in the foster care system who were not reunited with their biological family and did not get adopted by another family will find themselves out of the foster care system at 18, considered adults, and expected to survive alone. While there are some programs that offer support, there is still so much they are left to figure out on their own.

As a result, these youth are more like­ly to expe­ri­ence behav­ioral, men­tal and phys­i­cal health issues, hous­ing prob­lems and home­less­ness, employ­ment and aca­d­e­m­ic dif­fi­cul­ties, ear­ly par­ent­hood, incar­cer­a­tion, and oth­er poten­tial­ly life­long adver­si­ties.

At Dream Makers, we have the privilege of seeing how meeting crisis needs and coming alongside these youth to fulfill their dreams can play a positive impact in their lives. When these youth receive support, they are reminded that they are seen, cared for, and that their stories matter.

Every act of care matters – and we want to invite you into making a difference for the population of aged out foster youth who truly need what you can offer.

The Statistics of Aging Out:

  • 1 in 5 become homeless within a year.
  • 50% of the homeless population are former foster youth.
  • 60% of sex trafficking victims spent time in foster care.
  • 71% of young women who age out become pregnant by 21.
  • At age 26, only half are employed.
  • One in four will become involved in the juvenile justice system within two years after leaving foster care.
  • Less than 3% of youth who have aged out of foster care earn a college degree. Despite all of the challenges, 70% of foster youth say that they would like to attend college one day.
  • 25% of youth who age out deal with PTSD.
  • 50% of former foster youth struggle with substance abuse.

What We Are Doing:

Many of the problems plaguing our culture today: homelessness, sex trafficking, prison, and poverty, are symptoms of the statistics above. Our goal is to go upstream and help support aged out foster youth so that they can thrive and succeed in their lives.

Do you think you would have been able to completely succeed without any guidance when you were 18 years old? These youth have no other option.

We work to remove the barriers standing in the way of aged out foster you who have transitioned into adulthood alone by supporting their financial stability, encouraging life skills, and developing job skills.

At Dream Makers, we meet Crisis Needs so that these youth can have food to eat to get through the day. Once their crisis needs are met, they are then able to dream bigger. Every dream listed on our site represents a life that is worthy of supporting.

We have also created Market 18, a shop where every item and design is made by a former foster youth. Market 18 works directly with former foster youth to come up with products and provides an outlet to share their creations while also providing for them financially. We have found that having financial assistance and community support, these youth realize they can do big things!