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Congratulations, You're On Your Own: Life After Foster Care

Michael D. Nes
Michael D. Nes, Aaron Lee Dowell

Each year, between 20-35,000 young adults reach the end of their allotted time in the foster care system and are thrust out into the world to make it on their own. These young people are forced to navigate all of the responsibilities of adulthood, many without having sufficient preparation nor the ongoing guidance that in-tact families can provide during these formative years. Many go straight from foster care to homelessness. The struggles these youth endure result in higher incidences of incarceration, unemployment, substance abuse, and educational difficulties than the rest of the population. Astonishingly, it has also been shown that former foster youth experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) nearly twice as frequently as U.S. war veterans.

Despite these hardships, we find stories of incredible resiliency and extraordinary success! Some of these youth even go on to expend tireless dedication and efforts to affect positive change in child welfare systems across the U.S., lending their expert voices on many related issues.

This new documentary film, “Congratulations, You’re On Your Own: Life After Foster Care,” explores the “aging out crisis” through the lens of those who have recently aged out, and offers ways to improve outcomes for former foster youth.