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Points Of View: Helping Foster Kids Transition To Adulthood

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Monday, December 2, 2019 - 12:53pm
Updated: Monday, December 2, 2019 - 1:29pm

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Faith Mike Faust Arizona DCS Foster Care
Tim Agne/KJZZ
Faith, a former foster child, and Arizona DCS Director Mike Faust.

Kids who "age out" of the foster care system at age 18 nationwide face daunting odds. About 50% of them don’t graduate high school, and only 3% graduate from a four-year college. They’re more likely to end up on public assistance or in the criminal justice system.

But, for a lot of important reasons, only about a quarter of them take advantage of services designed to help them transition into adulthood.

Here in Arizona, the Department of Child Safety is working to get more young adults to stay with them, and take advantage of the programs they offer to extend care and services up to age 21. It’s an important issue for new DCS Director Mike Faust.

Maybe, he says, it’s because he has teenage daughters, or maybe it’s because he was a foster kid himself.

For the next edition of our Points of View series, The Show sat down with Faust to talk more about this program as well as Faith, a former foster child we’ll only identify by her first name.

She chose to stay in foster care after she "aged out" of the system. She’s a student at Mesa Community College and is a member of the DCS Youth Empowerment Council.

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