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.”



About Me Michelle is passionate about the need for system reform and the essential role that young people can take in leading child welfare to more effective, youth and family-focused strategies.

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