Covid-19 causing more struggle for foster youth

By: MILO BOYD

Foster care can already be a struggle for young kids and teens, but with the added stress of the Covid crisis, things become a lot more difficult. More and more children are being put into care due to abuse, abandonment, neglect,etc., but because to Covid, less families are willing to parent them. Kids are being bounced around foster placement to foster placement more than normally because caregivers and foster parents are concerned about Covid and unwilling to keep them. According to Chicago studies, foster kids get Covid at nearly double the rate of the general population and with the reported 33% increase in children in foster care, many kids end up not having a home to sleep in, so they have to sleep in shelters, hotels, or even in their caseworker’s office space.

Along with this, teens who have aged out of foster care also face huge struggles. When schools and universities closed, most students  were sent back to their families, but without families or a safety net to fall back on, many previous foster teens have nowhere to go. Emmerald Evans, who grew up in San Francisco and entered Foster care at 5, says, “Campuses have been closed. Students have to go home, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that foster youth have a home to go to.”

Despite Covid continuing to challenge and put stress on the foster system and the youths in it, many things have been put into action to aid the situation. California governor Gavin Newsom announced an investment of $42 Million to protect foster youth and families impacted by COVID-19. Also, many social workers are currently working their hardest to make the best of the situation. Daniel Heimpel, a child welfare expert, says, “We have to continue shining a light on youth in foster care and the families impacted from the various layers of change our country is experiencing.”

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