By Britt Moreno
AURORA, Colo (CBS4) – In a discussion about aging out of the foster care system and the challenges that 18-year-olds face, you also have to talk about what a huge difference adoption makes in their lives. Children who are adopted out of foster care are more likely to go to college, get a good job, and raise a thriving family of their own. That is why CBS4 has been partnered with The Adoption Exchange for more than 30 years, and why every week reporter Britt Moreno highlights a child living in foster care for the Wednesday's Child segments.
Climeshia is a teenage girl with a boisterous giggle that bubbles out of her. Like most teenage girls she is vivacious, excited for college, and experimenting with her identity. However, unlike most kids she shoulders a heavy burden. Her teenage years are weighed down with worry because she is close to aging out of the foster care system.
CBS4 SPECIAL REPORTS: Aging Out
"I just want a home to love me and to take me in as their own," Climeshia told CBS4.
Climeshia and about 200 other Colorado kids know time is running out to find a family. When they turn 18, they can emancipate from foster care. At 21 the state let's them go. Britt met Climeshia through the Adoption Exchange. It is a non-profit that recruits families for older kids like Climeshia.
The goal of the Wednesday's Child segments has always been to make families aware of children in foster care with the hope they'll be interested in adoption.
"It resonates with families and they recognize the need," said Lauren Arnold, Executive Director of The Adoption Exchange.
According to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System last year 173 kids aged out of the foster care system. It's a pressing problem, but Arnold says we can all help as a community.
"One single caring adult makes the difference in a child's success" she said.
LINK: The Adoption Exchange
The Adoption Exchange has special programs for older kids including unique recruitment opportunities. The Adoption Exchange holds meetings in which families can interact with teens and meet them in a comfortable, stress-free way. It also offers a mentor program in which qualified adults can help a child with homework or even take that child out to dinner. If a family and a child are the right match, it offers families support after adoption.
The following are helpful resources for people who are aging out of foster care and for the people who care for them.
Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Public Awareness Campaign
Child Abuse & Neglect Hotline
Learn more about foster care and adoption in Colorado.
United Way Bridging the Gap
helping teens live on their own after foster care
Dream Makers Project
making dreams come true for former foster care youth
life skills program provided through human services dept. of each county
CBS4 Wednesday's Child Section
The Adoption Exchange
promoting adoption for foster care youth
Adoption Exchange's Birthday Wishes Program
Office of the Lt. Governor
SOAR! Youth & Adult Choir
soaryouthandadultchoir.org 720-218-1433 (Youth)
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