The Need for Support
Imagine that there is a lone boat stranded at sea, slowly sinking into the ocean abyss with 35,000 children on board, alone and afraid.
Imagine what the global aide would be to save the lives of those children? Better yet, what would you do to help? Although the boat is a metaphor, unfortunately the children are not.
Today, 35,000 youth are living in the Los Angeles foster care system
Foster children in South Los Angeles face serious challenges, experiencing poverty and poor outcomes. Peace4Kids participants and their caregivers have some of the lowest per capita income in the nation. 39.3% live below the poverty level, compared to the national average of 9.2%. Although one-third of Los Angeles transitioning foster youth live in Compton, Peace4Kids is the only community-based non-profit serving the area.
While foster care is a nationwide concern affecting some 500,000 children, and a statewide issue with 80,000 youth being served, Los Angeles has one of the largest foster youth populations in the country. Disproportionately, African-American children represent 9% of the Los Angeles population and over 30% of the youth in foster care.
Many of the 35,000+ Los Angeles foster youth will face these foreboding statistics during or within three years of leaving the system:
- On average youth will change homes every 6 months.
- Approximately ¼ of emancipated foster youth will live on the streets or in shelters.
- 50% will be unemployed and 33% will receive public assistance in their years following emancipation, mostly because 37% had not finished high school.
- Less than 3% will earn a bachelors degree.
- Young women in foster care are six times more likely to become pregnant during their teenage years than their non foster-care peers.
- As a result of their exposure to violence and trauma, 25% of former foster youth have been diagnosed with PTSD. This rate is six times higher than war veterans and 8 times higher than the general population.