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Foster Care Emancipation

  • By: Alfreda P. Iglehart & Rosina M. Becerra
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Foster care emancipation describes the process by which a youth in foster care is “freed” from or “ages out” of the public child welfare system. The term aging out of foster care is beginning to replace emancipation because it is becoming increasingly clear that there is very little “freedom” associated with leaving the foster care system. Reaching the age of adulthood means that the young person is no longer eligible for financial support by the governmental institutions that are responsible for the safety and care of dependent and neglected children. In the United States and most Western countries, this age is 18 years.

When parents are not able to care for a child because of substance abuse, mental illness, incarceration, and myriad other reasons resulting in ...

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