Those first few years of being an adult are hard. You’re either in college or working, trying to figure out who you are, what you want to do, and how to make at least one meal by yourself that won’t give you food poisoning. For kids who age out of the foster care system, it’s even harder. They often don’t have a mother available for 24/7 calls like, “How do you boil an egg?” or “How exactly does car insurance work?”
Girls ages 10 through 19 can live at Davidson Farms where a house mother will teach them what they need to survive and thrive in their teen years.
But what about when they age out of foster care at 20? They might be ready for a little independence, but not ready for being a full-fledged adult without any help.
Thanks to a grant, Kids to Love, a nonprofit that helps foster children, will be building the Cottage Community, a cul-de-sac of five tiny homes just big enough for the women to stay in while they get on their feet for the first time.
“In order to keep our girls in the Davidson Farms family when they age out of the main house, we’re going to extend the driveway around the east side of the campus,” Kids to Love founder Lee Marshall said in a video. “We’re engaging our community to help with plans to construct five quaint, single-dwelling homes that will form our cottage community. … When they turn 20 years old and have to move from the main house, they will have the option to remain close by to start their education or begin their first job. It’s an investment in our girls’ future.”
Without a place to go, teens who age out of the foster system often become homeless. In fact, 20 percent of teens who age out of foster care become immediately homeless. Only 50 percent of former-foster kids will have a job by the time they’re 24.
This isn’t the only place in Huntsville for not-quite-teens who need a place to go. Safe Harbor Youth works with teens who have been trafficked. The Safe Harbor Transitional Living program offers teens and young adults a place to live after they’ve aged out of the foster system.
Lynn Caffery, founder of Safe Harbor Youth, started the home after surviving human trafficking herself.
“We’ve had rich; we’ve had poor. We’ve had middle class,” Lynn said. “It doesn’t matter how old you are. … This is happening (here). It’s not overseas.”