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National data suggests that young people transitioning from wardship to adulthood experience the expectation of self sufficiency as too fast, unplanned and unexpected, making them feel "dumped" by the system, helpless to take control of their lives, and unhopeful about the future. Id. In Illinois, approximately 2,000 youth spend their seventeenth birthday in foster care. The picture of youth aging out of the system in Illinois is no more hopeful than the national picture, as shown in a recent study of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, in which caseworkers responded to questions about a sampling of 580 older youth living in substitute care. Only 52% of the wards age 18 and older had a high school diploma. Only 12.8% were working full time.
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