Students lead a rally in Lower Manhattan to support of their peers aging out of foster care.
Young advocates rallied on the steps of City Hall Monday to ask elected officials to support funding to help older children in foster care find permanent homes.
The rally was held in conjunction with non-profit You Gotta Believe, which focuses on finding permanent families for young adults, teens, and pre-teens in foster care.
Organizers say more than 400,000 children are in foster care in the United States and as many as 22,000 of them will age out of the system and are on their own. Advocates say in New York City that number is around 750 a year.
"We're the hard to place kids when you're about 14 years old they tell you there's no more foster homes, and you have to go to congregate care which is group homes, and RTC's which is a residential treatment centers, and it's all traumatic," Rosie Williams.
"We need to create a family based program in our society for these youths specifically, because a lot of us don't know what family feels like and when we're in a family setting we don't know how to react to it," said youth advocate Ricardo Vasquez.
The non-profit says children who age out of foster care with out a support system face higher than average rates of incarceration, poor health, early parenthood and homelessness.