Mateo Jaime, a Legal Studies student, arrived at the court hearing that would, finally, end his years in custody of the Alaska Office of Children’s Services in a buoyant mood. At age 21, young adults “age out” of foster care in Alaska if they have not been adopted or reunified with parents. A judge approves it in a hearing that amounts to a grim bureaucratic formality: A child has passed into adulthood without the foster care system laying a path to permanent legal family for them, and now they are on their own.
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