Two Tampa high school seniors try to beat the odds after 'aging out' of Florida's foster care system

"When you turn 18, they're like ‘Go'"
Posted at 2:35 AM, Dec 18, 2017

TAMPA, Fla. -- Maryclaire and DeAnna are best friends. The high school seniors are beating the odds at Tampa's Middleton High School. By becoming adults, the two "aged out" of the State of Florida's foster care system.

“It’s like having a bird as a pet in a cage, and when you turn 18, they’re like ‘Go’....It’s hard,” says DeAnna.

“Aging out” of foster care is especially tough when you have no support. Now imagine trying to do it while maintain good grades so you can graduate with very little knowledge of what will occur to you once you graduate.

“I’ve dealt with a lot of students coming out of the foster system and a lot don’t make it,” says Dr. Kim Moore, principal at Middleton High. “These young ladies are proving to be the exception.”

Maryclaire and DeAnna turned 18 this summer. They lived together in a post-foster home, but were recently split into different programs. They miss each other like crazy.

“You find that one person who sticks with you through everything,” says Maryclaire.

“Sometimes I feel like a mom to her,” says DeAnna.

Community groups as the Book Divas and Divine Keys recently rallied rallied to give the girls gift cards to Publix and Walmart. They also received Visa cards for $150.

They could use that money to pay bills or buy food. Then again, they are still just kids at heart.

“Ooh, $150! I can get new hair with this!” says Maryclaire.