In addition, the paperwork is tough. “The eligibility documentation is detail-driven and difficult to obtain.” says Brooks. “It’s hardly an easy process.”

Adding to the problem is that young people in foster care don’t get adequate life-skills training.

While always mandated, “there has been inconsistency in the state in how it’s administered,” says Marcus Games, Sojouners’ co-executive director. “Some counties were good; others not so good.”

The problem has been remedied in part by the new Comprehensive Case Management and Employment Program, which is funded with federal dollars and administered by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The program brings together teachers, caseworkers and other specialists to help prepare foster youths 14 years and older for the workforce. “Finally,” said Games, “we’re seeing a coordinated effort in the state.”

The challenges these young adults face is largely based, according to Games, “on the absence of permanent relationships in their lives — sources of support they can fall back on.” Without the stability that comes from permanent relationships, these young adults are adrift, trying to make do with systems provided by the state.

Ohio is making headway, but it’s still a scary proposition for an 18-year-old who ages out of the system.

Jack D’Aurora is a partner with the Behal Law Group.