Skip to main content
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Poverty-related issues in the news, from the Institute for Research on Poverty

Teens and Opting Out of Foster Care – Missouri

A way back for Missouri teens who opt out of foster care?, By Nancy Cambria, February 18, 2013, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “When she turned 17, Mynecia Taylor had mapped out her life. First, she would leave foster care early. It would free her to live life her way without the obstacles and rules that she felt were holding her back. Once out of foster care, she’d return to her unpredictable mother — it would be a challenge, but she’d make it work. She’d keep going to Roosevelt High, the fourth high school she’d attended since she went into foster care four years ago. She would keep working part-time jobs to save money. She would graduate Roosevelt. She would go to college. A year later, like an estimated 20 percent of kids who leave foster care at 18 or younger, the soon-to-be Roosevelt senior class president was homeless. The night after her 18th birthday, she slept in an apartment building stairwell. As teens who lack permanent placements in foster care approach 17 and 18, many chafe to leave a system they did not want to be a part of in the first place. Emboldened by years of living apart from family, some think they can do better on their own. But once out, they find they have no safety net when things go wrong…”