Likewise, while youths with relational permanency may experience committed relationships with supportive adults, they too must often explain that they are more than "just a foster youth" in a way that a legal child does not.According to Brunsink, some youths who solely engage in relational permanency may feel more vulnerable, as they cannot hold onto a legal document that obligates adults to act as parents.With approximately 25,000 young people aging out each year, this amounts to roughly .5 billion in total costs.Permanent Relationships With Caring Adults Impacting the poor outcomes that these highly marginalized youths experience and the bottom line is not impossible.The second assumption may also be problematic, as it prioritizes adoption next only to reunification.
Though the relationship may be subjectively meaningful and significant, partners may feel that they have to defend the strength of the relationship, as more than "just dating" in a way that married couples do not.
They still lack a sense of belonging with a family, even though a court has declared them to be legally part of that family.
Likewise, some youths who only experience relational permanency, but don't achieve legal permanency, may also struggle with the insecurity of not being part of a forever family, as there's no court order sanctioning the relationship.
From 2000 to 2009, the number of youths aging out of care increased by 46%, and though the number has finally begun to decrease over the past five years, youth emancipation continues to represent one in 10 exits from foster care (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2013).
Because aged-out youths often lack concrete resources and social supports, they are at risk for a number of adverse outcomes, including increased rates of unemployment, low educational attainment, reliance on public assistance, behavioral health symptomology, poor physical health, homelessness, unplanned pregnancy, and criminal justice involvement (Courtney, Dworsky, Cusick, Havlicek, Perez, & Keller, 2007).