Survival Saturday: Helping Foster Youth Help Themselves

Survival Saturday: Helping Foster Youth Help Themselves

“Karen” is a young adult and former foster child. When she started an apartment search, while also working full-time and going to school part-time, she learned a hard truth—that foster children are at greater risk than others of becoming identity theft victims.

Karen discovered that she had more than $5,000 in debt from old utility bills and credit cards—debt that wasn’t really hers. You can read more about Karen in this UnLocked post, written by another former foster youth.

This weekend, I had the opportunity to meet with young adults like Karen—those who’ve left or will soon leave the foster care system. My meetings were part of the Alliance for Children’s Rights Survival Saturday—a half-day workshop to help young adults learn how to cope with the challenges of working, being in school, and finding your path.

Paige and Alliance Youth 2

That’s me on the left, meeting with a former foster youth who unknowingly had her identity stolen when she was only 10-years old.

As LifeLock’s chief of identity education, my role in the meetings was to help these young adults understand the risks of identity theft. One woman I met with was already a victim. When she was 22-years old, she found out that someone had been using her Social Security number for employment paperwork for 12 years.

Why do foster children have a higher incidence of identity theft? One reason is because their personal information is often shared among multiple adults—both foster parents and social service workers—as the kids move between foster homes.

During my two working sessions with the foster kids, we discussed why protecting a Social Security number, a birthdate, and other personally identifiable information (PII) is so important. We also discussed ways to pick up the pieces should they become victims or have identity theft issues.

As a result of our partnership with the Alliance, LifeLock is working with some of these foster youth identity theft victims to help clear up their ID theft problems and restore their good names.

We’re proud of our partnership with the Alliance for Children’s Rights, including our sponsorship of last Thursday’s 7th annual Right to Laugh, a fundraising event featuring comedians Wanda Sykes and Tig Notaro.

Our work with the Alliance helps this great organization do tremendous work in service of foster children. Since 1992, the Alliance has worked to protect the rights of impoverished, abused and neglected children and youth, while assisting young adults aging out of foster care to become productive and self-reliant. We thank them for their awesome work and are so happy to be involved with it.

Posted by Paige Hanson, LifeLock chief of identity education

 

 

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