Foster children face challenges as they age out of system

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Cris Beam was a high school English teacher in 2000, when a former student came to her desperate for a place to stay. The student, Christina, had moved to a different school where other students threatened to kill her when they found out she was transgender.

Beam let Christina stay on her couch for a couple of nights, which led to Beam’s becoming her foster parent and eventually adopting her. This summer, Christina turned 30.

“I don’t think I’m old enough to have delivered a baby girl who could hit such a milestone,” Beam wrote in The New York Times. “In my case, it’s true: I’m only 41. I didn’t give birth to my daughter. I became her mother when I was 28 and she was 17. Call it an unplanned delivery, very late term. Christina was one of the 135,000-plus teenagers nationwide in foster care, most of whom are abandoned when they age out of the system between 18 and 21.”


Ampersand in the News

About Me Michelle has worked with youth in out-of-home care since 1989, her child welfare career has included front-line staff positions in residential settings, a home-based intensive supervision worker, and youth development work in a therapeutic foster care agency. Prior to co-founding Ampersand Families in October 2008, Michelle directed The Homecoming Project, a federally-funded Adoption Initiatives program to increase adoptions of teenagers from Minnesota’s foster care system. Read More

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