Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Foster Children, Aging Out
Donna Dea Holland
Foster care is one remedy for the social problem of child abuse, neglect, and dependency. Designed as a short-term solution to ensure the safety of children, critics have assailed foster care as creating additional social problems for children and families, including for young adults who transition out of foster care, referred to as “aging out.” Children who age out of foster care reach the maximum age of service by the foster care system, 18 years of age in most states, or 21 for persons with developmental disabilities, or somewhere between 18 and 21 after completing high school. Aging out becomes a social problem in the failure of the foster care system to secure permanent adoptive families for these children earlier, leaving them to become adults who have no permanent legal families. Children not successfully reunified with families of origin or alternative family members—such as an aunt, uncle, or grandparent—leave foster ...