DETROIT, July 21 (UPI) -- The state budget crisis has left more former foster children in Michigan without any place to go as they age out of the child welfare system, officials say.
Covenant House in Detroit, a shelter for homeless and runaway young people, said about one-third of its residents are now former foster children, The Detroit News reported. In the past, they were about 20 percent.
The Michigan Department of Human Services said at least 653 foster children hit the age of 19 without a stable situation in 2009, up 36 percent from 2005.
Many former foster children have a tough time as they get older. Katrina Killebrew, now 22, living in a subsidized apartment and studying to be a medical assistant, told the News she spent two years alternating between the streets of Pontiac and homeless shelters.
"I was freezing cold, and I had to sleep outside," she said.
Covenant House and similar programs provide an alternative, with classes and coaching to help young people become independent.
But the budget crisis is hitting such programs. Alternatives for Girls, which reserves 20 of its 31 places for former foster children, said it lost 6 percent of its funding when its state aid was eliminated.