HomeAid Orange County

​Stepping Stones to Self-Sufficiency

by Lauri Burns, Founder of The Teen Project

November 03, 2017

The transition from adolescence to adulthood is difficult, even with an intact family structure. Recent studies have shown that the average young person must rely on parental support during this transitional period, and do not actually become self-sufficient until age 26. By contrast, youth exiting the foster care systems do not have this option; they are cut off from their sole support system at age 18.

Where most teens are entering this time of their life with a sense of awe and opportunity, foster kids are left in a state of desperation. Without a home to return to, they often sleep on couches and cars or turn themselves in to the local homeless shelter. For these kids, the future is bleak.

How are our children doing?

In California, an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 youth are homeless and living on the streets.

A national study reported that more than 1 in 5 youth who arrived at shelters came directly from foster care.

More than 1 in 4 had been in foster care in the previous year (National Association of Social Workers).

Studies across the nation indicate that between 24% and 50% of former foster care/probation youth become homeless within 18 months of leaving the system (California Department of Social Services).

25% of those in prison were once in foster care.

Studies of California’s former foster youth found that:

The Teen Project was formed to provide teens aging out of the foster care system with all of the resources and support of an intact family and to allow the greatest opportunity for a successful transition to adulthood.

We provide young women (18-24 years old) who are homeless after foster care and at-risk homeless youth with room and board, college support, paid job internships, savings program, automobile obtainment program, and independent living education.

All of The Teen Project's homes are beautiful. We believe where and how kids live reflect on how they feel about themselves. Each of our young women has her own room in a beautiful neighborhood and a live-in house mom, which creates a real family environment.


Consider becoming a foster parent and change the life of a child in need. Learn more at http://ssa.ocgov.com/adopt.


HomeAid has been ending homelessness with The Teen Project since 2010 through the development of a home for emancipated youth that added six beds. The Teen Project programs are also recipients of HomeAid’s Community Outreach activities.

Tweet This…

Foster children comprise less than 0.3% of the state’s population, and yet 40% of persons living in homeless shelters are former foster children.