March is aging-out awareness month. Aging out describes what happens when children in the foster care system turn 18 without being adopted. That happens to over 150 young people in Idaho every year.
But those young adults aging out of the foster system need help making the transition to adult life.
That's the message of JEMfriends, a group that gathered on the Statehouse steps today to read a proclamation from the governor declaring March as "Aging-out Awareness Month."
Among the speakers was Anhora Snodgrass, a young woman who aged out more than a year ago.
“I was attending college, but because of lack of stability, my grades failed, and I lost my scholarships,” said Anhora. “After that, I spent time homeless and just trying to make it to work every day. I struggled with lack of transportation, which caused major difficulties with a job I loved.”
Anhora recently joined JEMfriends and says it is helping her take steps toward a brighter future.
And many other children will need that kind of help.
Take a look at these facts and figures from the governor's proclamation:
-1,350 Idaho children are in foster care
-12 percent age out every year when they turn 18 (that's 162 young people)
-half will not have completed high school
And 20 to 30 percent will be incarcerated within two years of aging out.
Liberty Barrett founded the JEMfriends -- the nonprofit that now has two homes for aged-out youth.
They also provide mentors and other programs for those who have aged out of the foster system.
JEMfriends is funded solely by private donations.
There is a community event and youth panel for aging-out awareness month on March 30. It will be held at the Tree City Church on Eagle Road. It starts at 6 p.m.