How we grow up impacts the adults we become.
When young people experience adversity, trauma and toxic stress- like abuse or neglect, face discrimination because of their race, gender identity, or legal status, and/or live in impoverished or high crime neighborhoods- and without positive connections to their community, their development and well-being is negatively affected: their brains and bodies literally change, making it harder for them to focus in school, trust others, or make good decisions. These conditions in their environment create an unstable foundation, making it more difficult to find good paying jobs, access transportation, receive quality healthcare and education or enjoy green spaces and recreation.
Often these challenges are the conditions that make young people vulnerable to being placed out of their home. Right now, more than half a million young people currently live in youth jails and prisons, psychiatric hospitals and group homes, or are disconnected from their parents, siblings, schools and communities by being placed in foster care. Research shows that being placed outside of the home in and of itself is traumatic, and unfortunately many youth are further victimized while in placement.