Having looked at the disproportionate representation of Black youth in foster care and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on racial and ethnic minority groups, we thought it time to revisit the impact the pandemic has had on youth in foster care.
According to a study completed by the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research, nearly half of the youth surveyed - youth who are in or recently aged out of foster care - reported COVID-19 having a negative impact on their housing. The youth were asked to leave or feared being asked to leave their current living situation, and/or were experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity. More than half reported being food insecure and “Two-thirds of the participants reported that COVID-19 was having a major negative impact on their educational progress or attainment.” The study also found significant impact on mental health and permanency.
What does this mean specifically for Black youth in or aging out of foster care through the pandemic? The research - in Pennsylvania and nationally - hasn’t borne that data yet. However, we can surmise that COVID-19 has been particularly challenging for Black youth and could have long-term impacts on their futures.
We and others have said many times that while we are all in the same storm, we are in different boats. Some will feel the waves of the pandemic more than others, and if we can, it is up to us to help anchor them.