Foster youth transition house - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Foster youth transition house

by Danielle Wagner

WAVERLY (KWWL) A mother and daughter recently started an organization devoted to helping youth who aged out of the Iowa Foster Care System.

"Brighter Tomorrows" is in the process of getting its non-profit status. It's a program for youth who age out of the foster care system at age 18.

"We're hoping to catch people 18 to 21 years of age, just so they're still in that transition from high school to being on their own and they have some opportunity and a structure," said Samantha Banser.

Banser is a sophomore at Wartburg College and said she first noticed a problem among some of her friends.

"I had a lot of friends when I went to school in Cedar Falls in elementary that were in foster care, and I didn't think much of it until we got to junior high and a lot of them dropped out of school in high school or got in trouble with the law and I saw they struggled a lot and there wasn't much I could do then," said Samantha Banser.

Now, she feels she can do something. Samantha and Pam Banser said the aging out of foster kids is an issue many people just don't know about.

"They figure they've been taken care of, but what they don't know is at 18 they're flung out there on their own to make it or not and unfortunately the success ratio is horrible. About 27 percent of these kids succeed, the other 73 percent end up homeless, incarcerated, pregnant so they're repeating the system," said Pam Banser.

Brighter Tomorrows recently purchased its first house. To live there, former foster youth must attend school and maintain a certain GPA. The house is located in Waterloo and currently houses young men. The goal is to purchase another house in Waterloo for young women.

Brighter Tomorrows is up for $250,000 through the Pepsi Refresh grant program. Voting ends June 30, but if the organization is in the top 100 it rolls over to July voting.

You can vote online everyday at www.refresheverything.com/brightertomorrows.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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