Article Title

Aging Out

Publication Date



At a time in the United States when a record number of parents are financially and emotionally supporting their children well into adulthood, one group of adolescents and probably the most ill prepared, is forced to fend for themselves at age eighteen. Each year, approximately 20,000 American adolescents “age out” of the foster care system, often without the resources needed to live successfully on their own for the first time. Usually without a family support system, savings or training for independent living, odds are doubly against these youth already at increased risk for negative economic and social outcomes. Children in the foster care system typically come from poor communities, receive inadequate education, undergo frequent school changes and have suffered abuse and neglect as children, which prompted their placement in foster care. Wayne State University’s Research Group on Homelessness and Poverty and the group’s founder, Professor Paul Toro, have been studying the issue of homelessness from a variety of angles since the 1980s. “I never get bored with studying this issue because homelessness is such a complicated problem,” says Dr. Toro. “We are probably the only scholars in the world who have studied most aspects of homelessness, from public opinion to prevalence to intervention to prevention research.”