FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Mar 27, 2020
(Washington, DC) In a poll of young people from foster care conducted online via Facebook and Email March 21-24, 2020, FosterClub, the national network for young people from foster care, gained troubling insights into how the COVID-19 crisis is negatively affecting some of the nation’s most vulnerable youth.
“Young people in and leaving foster care are incredibly vulnerable and are being hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. Many do not have family to rely on for emergency housing, meals, money, or advice,” said Celeste Bodner, Executive Director at FosterClub. “Young people who age out of foster care work so hard to make it to college, find housing, become financially stable, and beat the odds. This pandemic threatens to undo all their hard work and places vulnerable young people in danger of homelessness, food insecurity, and mental health crisis.”
For information about resources available to support young people through the COVID crisis, visit www.fosterclub.org/C19. For more information about the poll or to find out how you can help, contact FosterClub at [email protected] or call 503-717-1552.
DATA SNAPSHOT OF YOUNG PEOPLE FROM FOSTER CARE (age 18-24)
27.6% described their home as having a food crisis or being very low on food.
“Ran out of food yesterday.”
—23 year old in Rhode Island
“I have no food stamps. I got denied. I have no food.”
—21 year old in Florida
“I have enough for grilled cheese for 2 days, I feed myself and one other person.”
— 18 year old in Nebraska
“I rationed out the food that is left with my sister. We are minimizing the amount we eat so we can make it through this without getting hungry.”
— 23 year old in Ohio
“No food or food stamps I've been borrowing money and food from others.”
— 19 year old in Delaware
39.6% indicated they had been forced to move, or fear being forced to move.
“I returned to live with former foster family.”
— 19 year old in Iowa
“This crisis has forced me back to a very toxic and triggering environment.”
— 22 year old in Massachusetts
“I live from place to place , now in relatives tomorrow live with friends.”
— 22 year old in California
“Campus is currently closed, I have permission to reside here for the three weeks we are closed however there’s been talk about closing for the rest of the semester.“
— 20 year old in Delaware
Employment & Finances
27.1% have been laid off because of the crisis. Another 39.6% have had hours severely cut or their gig work (e.g., Lyft/Uber driver) decreased.
18.0% indicated they are in a money crisis. Another 32.8% have a week or less of money available.
“I (was) supposed to start my new job on campus but things changed when the virus came about.”
— 23 year old in Georgia
“Work study cancelled.”
—19 year old in Alabama
“Scared if I run out of supplies for my daughters and I and I’m not working and going through my last savings for buying food and supplies and not.”
— 21 year old in Rhode Island
Connections & Stress
22.6% said they wished they had connections with more people to help them through this crisis
14.3% indicated they are on their own - or almost entirely alone.
“I only have my Independent Living Worker for 3 more months. If this pandemic lass longer, I gave no more resources.”
— 18 year old in California
“I'm under a lot of pressure, but I don't know what to do.”
— 22 year old in Washington
“I'm anxious, but I don't want to contact anyone.”
— 23 year old in Oklahoma
The above results were pulled from a larger poll and represent responses from 172 transition age (18-24) young people from foster care. Shortly, FosterClub will be issuing similar poll results for young people still in foster care (age 18 and under) and for adults (age 25 and older) with lived experience in foster care.
FosterClub is the national network for young people in foster care. Through work led by over 500 young leaders, FosterClub provides direct services to youth who experience the system and elevates the young peoples’ voice to drive change in the child welfare system. Learn more about FosterClub and how you can support young people in foster care at www.fosterclub.org.