Gaps in Foster Care Lead to Youth Homelessness

When young people age out of foster care and other child welfare services, they become susceptible to homelessness, human trafficking, and other threats to their well-being.

Homeless youth sitting alone with backpack | Covenant House - Issues - Gaps in Foster Care

We Help Young People Facing Homelessness When Foster Care Can't

In the U.S. and Canada, 32% of the youth who come to Covenant House have had involvement with foster care. Our trauma-informed, strengths-based approach to our residential programs and support services meet youth where systems have either left off or failed to meet their needs.

homeless teen girl | Covenant House - Issues - Gaps in Foster Care

When Young People Age Out of the Foster Care System

Young people typically age out of the system at 18 or 21 years of age, a time when they are often ill-equipped to navigate a successful path to a self-sufficient and independent adulthood.

This is precisely when young people become most vulnerable to homelessness, human trafficking, and a host of other threats and obstacles to their well-being and future happiness.

Children and youth enter foster care or child welfare systems when there is a problem of violence, abuse, neglect, or crisis in their home of origin. While a healthy foster placement might help a child come to terms with such hardships, a poor placement or an untimely aging out of the system without achieving permanence carries lifelong consequences, leaving young people at increased risk of poor educational outcomes, homelessness, unemployment, early parenthood, and substance use.

Child Welfare Services by Region

The challenges young people face when aging out of the foster care system vary greatly by region.

youth receiving meal at Covenant House | Issues - Gap in Foster Care

“A young man leaving foster care arrived on his 18th birthday, and all he requested was a fast-food meal. He was very surprised, and smiled ear to ear, when he received not only the meal but cake and ice cream too.”

— Deneen, CHNO Team Member

How Does Covenant House Support Youth Who Age Out of Foster Care?


Youth who exit foster care and come to Covenant House are immediately provided with the unconditional love, absolute respect, and vital services they deserve and need to thrive.


Covenant House supports policy change to remove barriers to advancement for young people in foster care, including college enrollment, affordability, and completion.


Covenant House staff are trained to understand the unique challenges faced by young people aging out of the foster care system.


Know the Issues That Drive Youth Homelessness

Young people experiencing homelessness face numerous challenges that hinder their ability to become independent, successful, and fulfilled adults.

Help Youth Facing Gaps in Foster Care

Your support will provide shelter and services to young people experiencing homelessness who have aged out of the foster care system.