Out of foster care, into college

Matt Zalaznick's picture
Thursday, October 31, 2013

By definition, foster children have been delinquent, abandoned, neglected, physically, sexually and/or emotionally abused, and that does not take into account nonstatutory abuses like heartache. About two-thirds never go to college and very few graduate, so it’s a safe bet that those who do have an uncommon resilience.

In a society where many young men and women live with their parents well into their 20s, foster children learn quickly that they are their own responsibility. To find someplace to live in 10th grade Kaleef Starks, now an A student at the University of California, Los Angeles, but back then (to use his words) a gay, effeminate, abused teenager, went to the local library, logged onto a computer and Googled “homeless shelters for youth.”

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