Foster Youth in Crisis
COVID-19 Update from Women United


Across California, the coronavirus pandemic has only made foster youth situations worse. 

Children and youth in foster care have already survived a lifetime of change and uncertainty. For these children and teenagers, changes like what they are encountering right now during COVID-19 can trigger traumatic memories or symptoms. 

What we have learned is that during this pandemic caring for children in foster care has become even more challenging both for their caregivers and child welfare professionals. Many of these youth have already experienced adversity and trauma in their past, leaving them more vulnerable to the changes that come with school closings, lack of daily contact with friends and mentors, and other forms of social distancing.  

The risk for abuse is skyrocketing during this time with limited visits and interactions with their social workers. 

Food insecurity, housing, health care, financial assistance, and access to technology are only a few of the top concerns facing foster youth across our state. With more youth in our foster care system than ever before, with placements being put on hold.

Courts in Limbo

The damage that the pandemic has brought to our society has been immense – freezing life for most of us and driving millions into the unemployment lines. But U.S. child welfare systems and the families they serve are facing a particularly new and less-acknowledged set of challenges during this time. Causing immediate ramifications for foster youth across the country. 

Black and white photo of a young child with curly hair.

The current pandemic has caused:

  • The systematic slowdown of court cases including family reunification cases
  • Delay in placements causing group home overcrowding
  • Complications of the strict guidelines for parents with children in foster care
  • Slow or complete stoppage of all in-home family and sibling visits

All of these conditions result in having more kids in the foster care system with resources drying up fast.

Where will these resources come from and how can we get to the youth who need us the most?

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