5 Ways COVID-19/Coronavirus is Impacting Foster Youth
As we continue to experience the uncertainty of the COVID-19/Coronavirus. We must consider how it impacts a group that so often goes unheard and unseen. Foster youth. As longtime advocates for current and aged-out foster youth, we want to bring to light some of the immediate ways COVID-19/Coronavirus is impacting foster youth.
The most pressing issue right now is the displacement of students who depend on student housing. Universities across the U.S. have closed their campuses and left former foster youth without homes. Some campuses are making exceptions and allowing foster youth and international students to stay. But many are at risk of homelessness. Especially because many campuses are closed indefinitely.
2. Lost Wages
For many former foster youth, they rely on their campus jobs or entry-level work to supplement their income. With campus closed and business limiting or closing operations altogether. The lack of work and access to money is frightening.
Unemployment benefits don’t always extend to those new to the workforce or those on financial aid. With most financial aid tied up in housing and food programs that are on hold. Students with work-study are left with a lack of options and no refunds.
The lost wages can equate to, fewer groceries, unpaid bills, and more housing instability.
3. Home School Resources
To help reduce the spread of the virus K-12 schools are closing nationwide. This impacts foster youth significantly. Many lack the resources to complete online work and are forgoing tutoring and other supplemental help provided by their schools.
Obviously, every school district is different. But students in care already struggle with moving from school to school. Not having access to additional resources and removing them from their friends may add more stress.
For foster youth, getting home from university, or going to the grocery store will become more difficult. If they are limited on funds, flying to friends or family is unfeasible.
Foster youth living in care or outside will be limited on transportation as bus lines and subways close. Forcing their dependency on others for basic supplies, like food and water.
5. Access to Support
The biggest gap is access to supportive resources. Depending on their location, many kids are unable to physically see therapists, biological parents, social workers regularly, tutors, doctors, friends. While we practice social distancing, these youths are missing out on external support.
For foster parents, this may add stress. Clearly, they not only help the children but help with creating consistency and support foster parents.
In conclusion, we ask you to join us in our continued efforts to support kids in care and their families. Check out our current initiative and see if you can help. Stay safe.