How Foster Care Affects You

Written by: Whitney Runyon, co-founder of The Archibald Project

Written by: Whitney Runyon, co-founder of The Archibald Project

Welcome to The Archibald Project’s National Foster Care Month Blog series. We received such an amazingly overwhelming response when we asked for people to submit their foster care stories that we have extended our Foster Care Series into June and July.

Our Foster Care Series might be our favorite topic of the year, as it’s become a time for so many people to write in a share their personal, firsthand experiences.

Our hope with National Foster Care Month (and really in any story we produce) is to inspire someone out there to become educated and get involved. If we inspire enough people then we start a movement and movements are what change history. When a certain percentage of society accepts something as normal then more of society jumps on the band wagon and begins participating. Can you imagine what America would look like if more people opened their hearts to participate with our foster youth?

America would change.

Our future would change.

Your children’s future would change. 

The amount of homeless people would decrease, crimes would decrease, drug consumption would decrease, break down of the family would decrease and much more…You see 20% of children aging out of foster care instantly end up homeless, 80% of men who age out of foster care are arrested and 60% of these men are convicted, 1 out of 2 kids who age out of the system become substance dependent, 7 out of 10 girls who age out of foster care are pregnant by the time they turn 21 and their children often enter foster care, thus repeating the cycle of breaking down families and growing our nation’s foster care crisis.

If these stats aren’t enough to push you to learn more about what kind of role you could play in our nation’s most vulnerable children’s lives, then we hope the real, firsthand stories by those personally affected in the months to come will.

Over the next 3 months we will be introducing you to people who are some how involved with foster care. You might not be in a place to become a foster parent but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a role for you. Set your alarms or follow us on Instagram and Facebook to ensure that you don’t miss a single post!

Stories you’ll hear:

  • -What it’s like being a single foster mom
  • -What it’s like being a child whose parents decide to foster and you are now a foster sibling
  • -What it’s like to be a friend to someone who is a foster parent
  • -What it’s like to use your life to care for vulnerable children
  • -What it’s like to overcome fears to purse loving others
  • -What it’s like to grow up in the foster care system
  • And much more! 

If our stories don’t impact you, if you still see foster care as a “that’s not for me, that doesn’t affect me”, then let us leave you with this:

“The problems associated with aging out of foster care also affect the communities these youth live in. A 2013 study by the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative showed that, “on average, for every young person who ages out of foster care, taxpayers and communities pay $300,000 in social costs like public assistance, incarceration, and lost wages to a community over that person’s lifetime. Do the math and you can conservatively estimate that this problem incurs almost $8 billion in social costs to the United States every year.”

You see, Foster Care not only affects the children in the system and those who age out but it also affects your communities and taxes.

We could be losing future scientists, presidents, Nobel Peace Prize winners and more to the painful statistics of what happens to the majority of children who age out of the system. Their lives and futures matter just as much as yours does. What will you do to help make America better for our foster youth and better for your family?

“We took these young people away from their families because we said we as a society can do a better job parenting them,” says Mark Courtney, a professor at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work and an author of the study. “If you look at the average outcomes, I don’t think any parent would be happy with those outcomes.”


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