What Is Aging Out?

Young people age out of foster care when they have reached the maximum age the state will support them in the foster system. In some states, aging out occurs at 18, while in others it is 21. This happens when states have failed to reunite the youth with their families or to place them in permanent adoptive homes.

This interview with Dr. John DeGarmo provides an overview of aging out. The video is about 24 minutes long and is packed with great information. He answers questions about what aging out of foster care means, why youth end up aging out of care, the challenges they face when they age out, three key things that can be done to help prepare the youth for independence, and different ways people who want to help can help.

Click the image below to go to a downloadable PDF with a compilation of key aging out statistics. (This image only contains statistics from the first page of this document.) AOI will continue to add to this document over time.

The average number of youth emancipating from care over the last 10 years is 25,000/year.
With the current opioid crisis forcing so many youth into foster care, it is likely we will see the numbers increase over the next few years.