About 28,000 youth age out of foster care each year, reaching their 18th birthdays without being adopted or permanently reunited with their biological families. In Miami-Dade County, about 300 youth age out of foster care each year; roughly 130 are girls.

Left on their own – and often without stable and supportive adults to help them navigate the challenges they face – they struggle to survive. Former foster youth are vulnerable to homelessness, incarceration, mental and physical illnesses, and early childbearing.

They have histories of neglect and abuse, and their experiences in foster care are often as difficult as the biological homes from which they were removed. For example, nationally, youth in foster care experience an average of 3.1 placement changes per year during their time in the system. One Casa Valentina resident lived with 50 families between the ages of 6 and 13.

Once they leave foster care, the picture is grim. Nationally:

  • 50% of former foster youth will drop out of school
  • At age 21, only 25% will be enrolled in school and only 2% will have earned a 2-year degree
  • At age 21, only 52% will be employed
  • 62% will be unemployed 12-18 months after aging out
  • Median yearly income at age 21 will be $5,450
  • 25-33% will become homeless within three years
  • 60-70% will have babies by the age of 21
  • 30% will be arrested between the ages of 18 and 21
  • 65% of foster youth attend more than seven different schools during their K-12 years

Statistics on Casa Valentina Residents To Date:

* Average stay in foster care – 4.5 years

* Average age of entry into foster care – 12 years

* Average age at entry to Casa Valentina – 18 years, 4 months

* 68% enter our program below grade level in school