She’s aging out of DCF care, graduating college and beating the odds

Mar 27, 2017 by

By Jacqueline Rabe Thomas –

Ashley Foster loved school – until she entered foster care.

While she was living in a group home, she had no choice but to attend an alternative school where her schedule included courses called “healthy relationships” and “independent study” rather than chemistry.

Months of begging to attend a traditional high school finally paid off, and Foster went on to graduate from Danbury High School. In May, she will graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Southern Connecticut State University.

Foster is one of about 300 adolescents who will age out of the state’s foster care system this year without ever having been adopted.

Her grit has helped her defy the statistics, which show 21 percent of foster kids leave care without having a high school diploma or GED. Few have a college degree, and the majority are unemployed.

Many of the youth who age out of care go on to become homeless or incarcerated shortly after they leave care – things Foster is determined to avoid.

Foster grew up in a rural Connecticut town but now lives in an East Haven apartment, where she sat down to talk with The Mirror as she braces for aging out of the Department of Children and Families’ foster care system.

How did you come into contact with the Department of Children and Families?

So, I had issues getting along with my stepfather – well, he was my adoptive father – but we had issues getting along, so the state got involved.

I had a friend going through some problems with her father. Her and I were passing notes in our health class. She wrote like, ‘Oh you don’t know what it’s like. You don’t know what I am going through.’ I respond, ‘I have a little bit of an inclination. And I told her about the most recent things that happened.’ And she brought that note to the school.

I was 15 when I left home. Basically, I knew DCF was coming to the house, and I packed up some bags and never went home, because I knew it wasn’t going to be good. I just needed to not be there.

… It was just a lot and it finally got to a point that it was too much. There was constant arguing, fighting, and there was finally one weekend and everyone kind of snapped, and there were so many events leading up to it, and the school kind of saw some stuff here and there. So when the note went to the school, some of my teachers also spoke up about what they had seen.

Source: She’s aging out of DCF care, graduating college and beating the odds | The CT Mirror

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