Selfless Love Foundation

Positive Stats - -selfless-love-foundation-blog-post

The National Youth in Transition Database reports that 26% of youth transitioning out of foster care experience homelessness by age 21. Are they experiencing chronic patterns of homelessness or couch surfing at a friend’s house? Are they homeless because of a lack of safe, affordable housing or financial struggles? Are they refusing assistance from the child welfare system? This is my problem with using negative statistics. While they may highlight an issue, they simply do not provide nearly enough information for us to identify solutions. 

Negative statistics only serve to further separate us from those in need. Rather than “othering” them with data that infers that they are permanently damaged by their trauma, I think we should use better narratives to help the public see that youth who have been through foster care have many of the same needs as other young people reaching adulthood. I would like the focus to be on the youth who age out of care, somehow overcome all the barriers, and transition to adulthood successfully.

Are youth aging out of foster care at higher risk for homelessness? Yes, and they need our help to get plugged into resources and have the opportunity to participate in effective programs that support healthy biological, psychological, and emotional development. 

Talking about negative statistics does little to help youth who are experiencing homelessness.  On the other hand, talking about the fact that 74% of former foster youth have secured stable housing not only gives youth hope for the future but also focuses our attention on possible solutions.     


Dr. Elizabeth Wynter is a rainmaker for transition-age foster youth. Wynter’s work in this arena has helped launch statewide and national youth voice movements, drive policy and practice improvements, and better equip system professionals and foster youth with tools and knowledge to achieve self-sufficiency.    

Wynter believes that foster youth should be valued as organizational assets. By using a pluralistic approach in which youth and systems professionals share control in decision-making, program planning and implementation, and advocacy, a dual impact of improved outcomes for transitioning youth and a more responsive child welfare system can be realized.

As the Executive Director of the Selfless Love Foundation, Wynter has led the state of Florida in making youth engagement a centerpiece of conversation. With over two decades of child welfare experience, an unwavering commitment to transforming the system, and an ineffable capacity to challenge the status quo, Wynter is a catalyst for change.  

Selfless Love Foundation’s youth voice initiative, One Voice IMPACT (OVI), provides current and former foster youth opportunities to develop skills for leadership and life, advocate for changes to policy and join a network of youth leaders across the state of Florida.


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