Dee Ann Ryan is the executive director of the Vermilion County Mental Health Board. She's spear-heading the initiative.
"We don't have a program at this point. Kids have to pretty much leave the community if they want to get involved in a program after they turn eighteen."
Churches, volunteer groups and county leaders have come together with the hope of creating something that would give foster teens the housing and support they need, when they reach eighteen.
Bernadine Spitz is a foster parent. She says most of us have somebody along the way to help us, but these children don't always have somebody. Spitz has been a foster mother to more than 60 kids.
"My oldest nineteen year old has been in and out of the hospital because of mental health issues. However, he does very well when he has the right medicine and support around him. But if he had no supports, he'd fall through the cracks."
But she can't help everyone. That's why she says it's necessary to have a transitional program. One idea is to build duplexes in the county for kids who age out of foster care. The point is to have adults around who can help guide them. There are adults in the area ready to help, but there just aren't programs in Vermilion County for transitioning teens. In fact, some teens leave the county to find programs. One of Owen Nelson's foster children moved to Champaign, where there's a program to help teen mothers.
"If something like this would have been here then she wouldn't have to be in Champaign. She'd be right here, and I could help take care of her son."
These activists say a transitional living program would help new families stay closer together.
In the next three years, more than 500 teens in Vermilion County will be aging out of their foster care or adoptive homes. The community leaders hope to have a plan in place to help them, within the year.