Listed here are just a selection of challenges that can make the journey to adulthood more difficult. If have one or more of these challenges, it does not mean that you won’t be successful as you transition out of foster care. But it does mean that you might need to do some additional planning to overcome the challenges. Some of these challenges have to do with things you may have control over (like becoming a smoker or young parent), and others you may have no control over (like a physical disability).
Think about how you might be able to improve your odds — or your Readiness Score — by preparing even more in other areas (for example, increase your education or life skills training). Some things that might add a challenge to your transition:
Age. It is almost always a disadvantage to leave foster care too young. Grant additional points as a youth is able to develop, mature and age out of the system with the support of caring adults.
Substance abuse and addiction. A high percentage of youth in care have parents with drug or alcohol dependency problems, which may contribute to a genetic tendency toward addiction. Youth transitioning out of care should take conscious steps to avoid the dangerous pitfalls of alcohol and drug abuse.
Smoking. Smoking is a high-risk activity that can cause significant health problems.
Incarceration or criminal record. Youth who avoid illegal behavior are more likely to stay safe and succeed as adults. Felony crimes make it very difficult to rent an apartment or obtain employment, which may need to be taken into consideration when rating your readiness.
Young parent. Teens and young adults who have become young parents often face tremendous challenges. Youth should understand that it is highly advantageous to establish oneself with education, housing, career, finances etc. before becoming a parent. If a youth is a teen parent, it’s very important they work to gain an advantage in other areas if possible.
Disability. Young people who have physical, developmental, learning, or mental health disabilities may have additional difficulties transitioning to adulthood. Look for additional resources that might be available to assist young people with disabilities.