Foster Child Determined to BUILD A Network of Wealth

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Only 2% of aged out foster youth graduate from college. When an aged out foster child receives their last stipend of $35.00, what quality of an education could they really afford? Between tuition and living expenses there’s no way you can succeed as a scholar. The odds are definitely against you. Society isn’t built for you to win. Foster care agencies restrict you to poverty-stricken areas not knowing their only helping to increase the rate of human trafficking, early pregnancy, and imprisonment. The 36% of aged out foster youth that goes to prison could definitely change with the help of our government officials. Foster care is a 9 billion dollar industry. With that amount of money, there is NO way we can’t help change the statistics of foster care. It begins with spreading the word and not giving up.

It’s not where you come from its where you’re going! WE, my friends, are going straight to the top! Take myself for example, my name is Juliet Forde and I’m a former foster child. I was in foster care since I was 3 months and aged out at 21. I’ve been in a total of 17 foster homes. When I aged out I was given my last stipend of $35. At 18 I was told by my social worker that it was time to prepare to age out of foster care so I needed to fill out an application for housing. I filled out the application and 3 months later I received my apartment. I was really excited considering the fact that I was staying with friends and my boyfriend to have a place to rest my head. As I got older my foster parents cared less and less about me actually being in the home. I didn’t want to be there anyway so I slept where I was comfortable at. I Occasionally went back to my foster home when I had a scheduled home visit from my social worker. But, once I got into my apartment life changed very quickly.

I was happy to have something to call my own but, I didn’t know what I was actually getting myself into. Suddenly, I had to learn how to cook a meal for myself and where to go to apply for food stamps. Not to mention, I didn’t even have furniture to sleep on. I remember getting my apartment and calling the management office to ask when I was going to get my fridge and stove. The manager schooled me on never moving into an apartment without having appliances. As I slept on my homemade bed, made out of the garbage bags filled with my clothes, I wondered to myself how the hell could I have been in foster care my entire life and aged out to nothing! I thought about all the people I encountered while in care and knew they were all getting paid for a job to take care of me. But the question remains, now that I’ve aged out who is going to make sure I was ok?

I looked around my “new” place and in that moment I knew I was going to make them pay. How could I have a legal guardian, social worker, doctor, nurse, foster parents, independent living coordinator and yet nobody made sure when I aged out of care I was going to be taken care of. The next morning I woke up with a achy back but, with such a drive in my heart to get everything I knew I deserved. I was going to make sure my voice and my story was going to be heard. The system would not just bypass me so easily! Today I’m still here in these projects but, I am committed to my mission of building a network to wealth for not only myself but other foster children coming up under me. I will not settle for this poverty-stricken area or what society expects of me. Greatness is what I am and greatness is what I will be!

Juliet Forde

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