California: From Foster Children to Homeless Adults

State Fails to Prepare Foster Youth for Adulthood
MAY 12, 2010

A youth who is homeless sleeps on concrete outside a homeless shelter.

© 2007 Natalie Leimkuhler

By failing to prepare youth in foster care for adulthood and cutting them off from support abruptly as they become adults, California is failing in its duty to these young people. These young people are capable of making the transition successfully, but they cannot do it without the state's help.

Elizabeth Calvin, senior advocate for children's rights at Human Rights Watch

(Los Angeles) - California is creating homeless adults by failing to ensure that youth in foster care are given the support to live independently as adults and by ending state support abruptly, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Human Rights Watch said that the state should provide financial support, connections with adults, shelter, and other safety nets for young people as they make the transition toward independence.

The 70-page report, "My So-Called Emancipation: From Foster Care to Homelessness for California Youth," documents the struggles of foster care youth who become homeless after turning 18, or "aging out" of the state's care, without sufficient preparation or support for adulthood. California's foster care system serves 65,000 children and youth, far more than any other single state. Of the 4,000 who age out of the system each year, research suggests, 20 percent or more become homeless.

"By failing to prepare youth in foster care for adulthood and cutting them off from support abruptly as they become adults, California is failing in its duty to these young people," said Elizabeth Calvin, senior advocate for children's rights at Human Rights Watch and author of the report. "These young people are capable of making the transition successfully, but they cannot do it without the state's help."

This month the state is considering dramatic cuts to child welfare services, which would eliminate an existing transitional living program, over 400 social workers, and other programs for foster youth preparing for adulthood.

"These proposed budget cuts would undermine foster youth's main defense against living on the streets," Calvin said. "The state will bear the costs of the predictable result - increased homelessness."

Most children enter foster care because abuse or neglect at home triggers the duty of the state to step in and protect them. The state becomes their parent and must ensure that children have adequate food, clothing, shelter, health care, and education. But the responsibility to provide the guidance and support necessary for children in foster care to grow into independent adults is no less important, Human Rights Watch said.

Human Rights Watch interviewed 63 young people who became homeless after they left foster care in California. Their stories shed light on the complex array of factors that led to their homelessness: missed opportunities to learn skills, lack of ability to support themselves, a shortage of second chances, and the fact that no one cared what happened to them.

Of those interviewed, 65 percent had not graduated from high school when they were forced out of state care; 90 percent had no source of income. These young people were expected to survive on their own, though the state had provided little training for adult living skills and was providing no support during the transition. In these cases, homelessness is a predictable outcome.

California state law requires child welfare agencies to develop, in conjunction with each youth in foster care, an "emancipation plan" for what the young adult will do when leaving foster care. But in practice, plans are often not made or are unrealistic and unlikely to prevent a youth from becoming homeless, Human Rights Watch said. Young people described to Human Rights Watch emancipation plans that lacked arrangements for housing or the income to afford it.

Human Rights Watch called on California to provide foster youth with a variety of options as they make the transition to adulthood, like their peers in family homes enjoy. These could include more time at home before moving out on their own, or somewhere to stay for certain periods, such as during college vacations.

The state should also maintain a spectrum of other options for housing, mentoring, and support for former foster youth, including transitional housing programs, mental health services, services for those with learning disabilities, and services for pregnant and parenting youth, Human Rights Watch said.

"The science of adolescent development shows that childhood does not end abruptly at a certain age," Calvin said. "In most US families, young people continue to receive a spectrum of support -  emotional and financial - as they make the transition to adulthood, and the youth in California's care deserve no less. "

Selected Testimony

The day I graduated from high school my foster mom told me, "You've been emancipated. You can't live here anymore." My social worker showed up - I was still in my little graduation dress and heels, my flowers, my cap on. My social worker had never talked with me. [She just] told me, "I've called around and found a shelter for you. You have a bed for four months."

- Karen D., age 21, San Francisco.

On the day of my so-called emancipation, I didn't have a high school diploma, a place to live, a job, nothing...The day I emancipated - it was a happy day for me. But I didn't know what was in store. Now that I'm on the streets, I honestly feel I would have been better off in an abusive home with a father who beat me; at least he would have taught me how to get a job and pay the bills.

- Roberta E., age 24, Los Angeles

"I wish I could have had ... someone to care about me ... like show me how to separate the whites from the darks [for laundry.] I would have hated it at the time, but I wish I'd had that. They never even asked me, ‘Is something wrong? Talk to me."

- Nikki B., age 18, Sacramento

"If you're going to put kids in group homes, in foster care - at least give them what they need to survive and take care of themselves. [When I aged out of care] I was expected to know how to get a job, buy a car, all that stuff, but ... I didn't have any idea how to go about doing things. So, I ended up on the street."

- Tony D., age 20, Berkeley


  1. Posted 20th January 2013 at 12:28 | Permalink

    Many thanks for posting articles like these to keep up education.
    Please check out my blog and follow it, too!

  2. Posted 3rd June 2013 at 17:42 | Permalink

    This design is incredible! You definitely know how to
    keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos,
    I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost.
    ..HaHa!) Wonderful job. I really enjoyed what you had to say,
    and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

  3. Posted 8th August 2013 at 21:28 | Permalink

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this article! It is the little changes that produce the most important changes.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Posted 15th July 2014 at 05:24 | Permalink

    I all the time used to study piece of writing in news papers
    buut now as I am a user oof web thus from now I aam using net for content, thanks too web.

  5. Posted 18th July 2014 at 16:16 | Permalink

    I am really enjoying the theme/design of your web site.
    Do you ever run into any browser compatibility problems?
    A few of my blog audience have complained about my
    blog not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Safari.
    Do you have any ideas to help fix this issue?

  6. Posted 26th September 2014 at 08:04 | Permalink

    Good info. Lucky me I came across your site by chance (stumbleupon).
    I have book marked it for later!

  7. Posted 5th October 2014 at 06:31 | Permalink

    With high-end technological advancements & by utilization of advance PCB equipment,
    the quality of Flexible circuit boards is increasing every single day.
    If you have a magnifying glass that has a good high
    power, you can get a big close-up of a bad connection. A PCB is a
    think board in which electrical components are connected using copper
    tracks instead of wires.

  8. Posted 11th October 2014 at 01:59 | Permalink

    Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a
    few of the pictures aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why
    but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both
    show the same results.

  9. Posted 1st June 2015 at 18:53 | Permalink

    Amazing tɦings Һere. I am very satisfied to see your
    post. Thanks a lot and I am looking ahead to touch you. Ԝill you
    please drop me a mail?

  10. Posted 16th February 2019 at 18:53 | Permalink

    It’s difficult to find educated people about this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about!


  11. Posted 31st March 2019 at 16:10 | Permalink

    If you are going for most excellent contents like myself,
    simply go to see this site all the time since it presents feature contents,

  12. Posted 2nd April 2019 at 09:58 | Permalink

    Thanks in favor of sharing such a pleasant opinion,
    piece of writing is fastidious, thats why i have read it fully

  13. Posted 3rd April 2019 at 02:56 | Permalink

    Informative article, just what I wanted to find.

  14. Posted 3rd April 2019 at 12:35 | Permalink

    This blog was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me.

  15. Posted 4th April 2019 at 14:28 | Permalink

    Howdy! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask.
    Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a
    blog article or vice-versa? My website goes over a lot of the same
    subjects as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit
    from each other. If you happen to be interested feel free
    to send me an email. I look forward to hearing
    from you! Fantastic blog by the way!

  16. Posted 5th April 2019 at 16:04 | Permalink

    Hi there, after reading this amazing paragraph i am also cheerful to share my experience
    here with colleagues.

  17. Posted 6th April 2019 at 12:58 | Permalink

    It’s awesome to pay a quick visit this website and reading
    the views of all mates concerning this piece of writing, while I
    am also eager of getting knowledge.

  18. Posted 7th April 2019 at 09:16 | Permalink

    Hi there to all, how is everything, I think every one is getting more from this site, and your views are nice for new visitors.

  19. Posted 8th April 2019 at 09:51 | Permalink

    Very great post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have truly loved browsing your blog
    posts. After all I will be subscribing in your rss feed
    and I hope you write once more very soon!

  20. Posted 9th April 2019 at 03:02 | Permalink

    Thanks , I’ve recently been looking for information about this topic for a while and yours is the greatest I’ve found out till now.

    However, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you certain in regards
    to the source?

  21. Posted 9th April 2019 at 20:03 | Permalink

    It’s going to be ending of mine day, however before finish I am reading this wonderful article to improve
    my experience.

  22. Posted 10th April 2019 at 18:18 | Permalink

    I like the valuable information you provide in your articles.
    I will bookmark your blog and check again here frequently.

    I am quite sure I’ll learn many new stuff right here! Best of luck for the

  23. Posted 10th April 2019 at 18:20 | Permalink

    Appreciating the commitment you put into your website
    and detailed information you provide. It’s nice to come across a blog every once
    in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed material.
    Wonderful read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS
    feeds to my Google account.

  24. Posted 13th April 2019 at 15:07 | Permalink

    Hello there! This article could not be written much better!
    Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate!

    He constantly kept preaching about this. I’ll forward this post to him.
    Fairly certain he will have a very good read. Thank you for

  25. Posted 13th April 2019 at 19:30 | Permalink

    Wonderful blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo
    News. Do you have any suggestions on how
    to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while
    but I never seem to get there! Appreciate it

  26. Posted 15th April 2019 at 13:19 | Permalink

    Hi, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar
    one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam comments?
    If so how do you prevent it, any plugin or anything
    you can recommend? I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any assistance is very much appreciated.

  27. Posted 16th April 2019 at 02:13 | Permalink

    Remarkable! Its in fact remarkable article, I have got much clear idea regarding from this article.

  28. Posted 18th April 2019 at 03:19 | Permalink

    Hi, i believe that i saw you visited my weblog thus i came to go back the
    choose?.I’m trying to find things to enhance my website!I assume its good enough to
    use a few of your ideas!!

  29. Posted 19th April 2019 at 15:10 | Permalink

    I enjoy reading an article that will make people think.
    Also, thank you for allowing for me to comment!

  30. Posted 21st April 2019 at 09:10 | Permalink

    Hey! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so I came
    to look it over. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m
    book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers!
    Exceptional blog and outstanding design and style.

  31. Posted 22nd April 2019 at 07:12 | Permalink

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this post! It’s the little changes that make
    the biggest changes. Thanks for sharing!

  32. Posted 24th April 2019 at 06:27 | Permalink

    I always emailed this web site post page to all my friends, because if like to read it then my contacts will too.

  33. Posted 4th May 2019 at 07:05 | Permalink

    Appreciating the time and effort you put into
    your blog and in depth information you present. It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same out of date rehashed material.
    Excellent read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds
    to my Google account.

  34. Posted 5th May 2019 at 09:19 | Permalink

    It’s going to be end of mine day, however before end I am reading this impressive piece of writing
    to improve my knowledge.

  35. Posted 8th May 2019 at 19:57 | Permalink

    After looking over a handful of the articles on your web site, I really like
    your technique of writing a blog. I saved it to my bookmark website list and will
    be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my
    web site too and tell me what you think.

  36. Posted 16th May 2019 at 15:08 | Permalink

    What’s up, always i used to check web site posts here early in the dawn, since i enjoy to gain knowledge
    of more and more.

  37. Posted 21st May 2019 at 01:44 | Permalink

    Great article.

  38. Posted 24th May 2019 at 01:44 | Permalink

    I every time spent my half an hour to read this
    weblog’s posts all the time along with a mug of coffee.

  39. Posted 29th May 2019 at 09:48 | Permalink

    Everyone loves what you guys are up too. This sort of clever work and reporting!

    Keep up the excellent works guys I’ve included you guys to my own blogroll.

  40. Posted 29th May 2019 at 20:07 | Permalink

    Excellent beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your site,
    how can i subscribe for a blog website? The account helped
    me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your
    broadcast offered bright clear concept

  41. Posted 30th May 2019 at 15:54 | Permalink

    If some one desires expert view concerning blogging and site-building then i propose him/her
    to pay a quick visit this website, Keep up the nice job.

  42. Posted 30th May 2019 at 22:59 | Permalink

    Great beat ! I would like to apprentice even as you amend your
    site, how could i subscribe for a blog website? The account aided
    me a acceptable deal. I were a little bit familiar of this your broadcast
    offered brilliant transparent idea

  43. Posted 30th May 2019 at 23:12 | Permalink

    Hello, after reading this remarkable post i am as well delighted to share my familiarity here with friends.

  44. Posted 31st May 2019 at 22:58 | Permalink

    Link exchange is nothing else however it is simply placing the other person’s weblog link on your
    page at proper place and other person will also do similar in support of you.

  45. Posted 1st June 2019 at 00:01 | Permalink

    magnificent issues altogether, you just received
    a emblem new reader. What would you recommend in regards to your publish that you just made a few
    days in the past? Any positive?

  46. Posted 1st June 2019 at 03:04 | Permalink

    Hey there! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard against hackers?
    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on. Any

  47. Posted 1st June 2019 at 20:59 | Permalink

    Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and
    found that it’s really informative. I’m going to watch out for
    brussels. I will be grateful if you continue this in future.

    Lots of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  48. Posted 1st June 2019 at 22:29 | Permalink

    What i don’t understood is in reality how you are not really a lot more neatly-liked than you may be now.
    You’re very intelligent. You realize therefore considerably in terms of this
    topic, produced me in my opinion imagine it from a lot of varied angles.
    Its like men and women aren’t interested except
    it’s something to do with Woman gaga! Your own stuffs outstanding.
    At all times care for it up!

  49. Posted 2nd June 2019 at 16:59 | Permalink

    Do you have a spam issue on this blog; I also am a blogger, and I was wanting to
    know your situation; we have developed some nice procedures
    and we are looking to exchange techniques with others, please shoot me an email if interested.

  50. Posted 2nd June 2019 at 18:12 | Permalink

    It is actually a nice and helpful piece of information. I
    am satisfied that you simply shared this helpful info
    with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  51. Posted 4th June 2019 at 04:23 | Permalink

    Hello, its good post concerning media print, we all be familiar with media is a fantastic source of data.

  52. Posted 4th June 2019 at 12:20 | Permalink

    I don’t know whether it’s just me or if everyone else experiencing issues with your blog.
    It appears as though some of the text on your content are running off the
    screen. Can somebody else please provide feedback and let me
    know if this is happening to them as well? This may be a problem with my
    browser because I’ve had this happen previously. Many thanks

  53. Posted 4th June 2019 at 14:10 | Permalink

    Everything posted was very reasonable. However, think
    about this, what if you added a little content? I ain’t suggesting your information isn’t solid., but suppose you added a post title that makes people want more?
    I mean California: From Foster Children to Homeless Adults – FFRUKiT!
    is a little plain. You could look at Yahoo’s home page
    and note how they create article titles to get viewers to click.
    You might add a related video or a related picture or two to grab readers
    interested about everything’ve written. Just my opinion, it would make your blog a little
    bit more interesting.

  54. Posted 6th June 2019 at 00:42 | Permalink

    It’s truly very complex in this active life to listen news on TV, therefore I just use the web for
    that purpose, and obtain the hottest news.

  55. Posted 6th June 2019 at 14:15 | Permalink

    You should take part in a contest for one of the greatest
    blogs on the net. I am going to recommend this website!

  56. Posted 7th June 2019 at 00:58 | Permalink

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Many thanks, However I am
    experiencing difficulties with your RSS. I don’t understand the reason why I am unable to subscribe to it.
    Is there anybody else having the same RSS issues? Anyone who knows the solution can you kindly respond?

  57. Posted 7th June 2019 at 21:35 | Permalink

    I am really impressed with your writing skills and also with the structure for
    your weblog. Is that this a paid subject or did you customize it yourself?
    Either way stay up the nice quality writing, it is uncommon to look a great weblog like this one today..

  58. Posted 10th June 2019 at 14:20 | Permalink

    Magnificent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely magnificent.

    I actually like what you have acquired here, really like what you are saying and the way in which you say it.

    You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it smart.
    I can’t wait to read much more from you. This is really a wonderful site.

  59. Posted 12th June 2019 at 13:04 | Permalink

    Highly energetic post, I liked that a lot. Will there
    be a part 2?

  60. Posted 12th June 2019 at 18:22 | Permalink

    My brother suggested I would possibly like this website.
    He was totally right. This submit truly made my day. You can not consider
    just how much time I had spent for this information! Thank you!

  61. Posted 12th June 2019 at 20:23 | Permalink

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this
    write-up plus the rest of the site is very good.

  62. Posted 14th June 2019 at 22:09 | Permalink

    I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your site.
    It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me
    to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to
    create your theme? Great work!

  63. Posted 14th June 2019 at 23:55 | Permalink

    352538 127799Thanks for the post, was an fascinating read. Curious as to how you came about that solution? 13217

  64. Posted 15th June 2019 at 06:02 | Permalink

    Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this,
    like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that
    you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is great blog.
    An excellent read. I will definitely be back.

  65. Posted 16th June 2019 at 12:35 | Permalink

    Your website has proven useful to me.

  66. Posted 16th June 2019 at 14:08 | Permalink

    Thanks for finally talking about >California: From
    Foster Children to Homeless Adults – FFRUKiT!

    <Loved it!

  67. Posted 16th June 2019 at 19:53 | Permalink

    Good day! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get my blog
    to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good results.

    If you know of any please share. Appreciate it!

  68. Posted 17th June 2019 at 09:37 | Permalink

    I’ve read some good stuff here. Definitely price bookmarking for revisiting.
    I surprise how much effort you place to create one of these excellent informative website.

  69. Posted 17th June 2019 at 10:57 | Permalink

    It’s remarkable to visit this website and reading the views of
    all colleagues about this post, while I am also zealous of getting familiarity.

  70. Posted 17th June 2019 at 12:47 | Permalink

    You ought to be a part of a contest for one of the best blogs on the net.
    I am going to highly recommend this website!

  71. Posted 17th June 2019 at 23:53 | Permalink

    When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time
    a comment is added I get three e-mails with
    the same comment. Is there any way you can remove
    people from that service? Thank you!

  72. Posted 18th June 2019 at 00:17 | Permalink

    Hey There. I discovered your weblog using msn. That is
    a really well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and
    come back to learn extra of your useful information. Thank you for the post.
    I will definitely return.

  73. Posted 19th June 2019 at 04:54 | Permalink

    Found this on google and I’m happy I did. Well written site.

  74. Posted 20th June 2019 at 13:46 | Permalink

    I love reading through and I believe this website got some genuinely utilitarian stuff on it! .

  75. Posted 21st June 2019 at 02:56 | Permalink

    Enjoyed examining this, very good stuff, thanks .

  76. Posted 22nd June 2019 at 02:00 | Permalink

    whoah this blog is magnificent i really like reading
    your articles. Stay up the good work! You recognize, many persons are searching round for this info, you can aid them greatly.

  77. Posted 22nd June 2019 at 06:55 | Permalink

    Hey! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say
    I genuinely enjoy reading your posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same topics?

    Appreciate it!

  78. Posted 23rd June 2019 at 12:27 | Permalink

    Please let me know if you’re looking for a article author for your
    site. You have some really good posts and I believe I would be a good asset.
    If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d absolutely
    love to write some content for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine.
    Please blast me an e-mail if interested. Many thanks!

  79. Posted 23rd June 2019 at 12:36 | Permalink

    I like this site because so much useful stuff on here : D.

  80. Posted 24th June 2019 at 10:43 | Permalink

    I am not rattling great with English but I get hold this really easygoing to read .

Shout about this article…

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *