Preventing Harm to Foster Youth During COVID-19
Preventing harm to foster youth during COVID-19 starts with identifying those in need. Current and former foster youth are at high risk of becoming homeless. Right now, 50% of the homeless population in the United States have spent time in the foster system. Within 18 months of emancipation, 40-50% of foster youth become homeless.
What Type of Harm can We Prevent?
The COVID-19 outbreak continues to create instability. All aspects of our daily lives have shifted and the rate of unemployment reaches new devastating heights. With an average of 20,000 foster youth aging out each year. What happens to those who age out now? Right now when there are no jobs and they have no familiar safety net.
Sadly, many of these vulnerable youths are exploited and abused. According to the FBI, 60% of sex-trafficked children spent time in the foster care system. What will this look like a year from now?
Fostercare2.org states that nearly 80% of all people in the U.S. prison system were in care. They also cite that 25% will end up in prison within two years of emancipation. With only 3% of former and current foster youth graduating from college. These numbers all reflect a pre-COVID world. So think about how these harms will look now.
What are these youths supposed to do for help?
How Do We Go About Preventing Harm
We know these youths face increase risks of experiencing homelessness, prison, and sex-trafficking. Now we need to provide resources to help reduce this. These youths are ending up in these horrible situations because they are other solutions. When you lack food or stable housing you may feel like you have no choice.
To prevent harm within this community we have to offer answers to the problems that cause this. We need to offer resources that provide stable housing, food, utilities. Some states have extended the age of assistance to foster youth but more help is needed.
The COVID-19 outbreak is exacerbating issues that impact foster youth.
Being Part of the Solution
To help reduce harm Together We Rise has started to offer emergency resources to foster youth. The focus is to help provide essential resources to support these youths. This support comes in form of education and tangible resources like housing and grocery money.
If you are interested in helping support solutions that prevent harm to foster youth. We welcome you to join us in our efforts. A donation of any kind can help change the narrative for foster youth across the nation. Donate here.