COVID-19 Has Increased The Need For Foster Parents
An Alarming Trend
As the United States bands together and adjusts to life post-Coronavirus, a new statistic grows ever-present in social services: there are now more foster children entering the system than pre-pandemic, but fewer foster parents are available to care for them all.
Answering The Call
As of 2021, there are 1,146 foster children in The Bair Foundation’s system alone. Foster parents and children alike have navigated new obstacles in the wake of the pandemic.
Trends report that foster parents have more frequently refused foster children since the start of the pandemic, with the fear of introducing COVID-19 into their homes and jeopardizing their biological families.
As families struggle with concerns about how best to stay healthy, young adults aging out of the system are faced with an issue that will outlast the actual pandemic.
The overwhelming economic recession of 2020 continues to greet young adults aging out of the system. Already plagued with fears of job, housing and food insecurity, youth in foster care have the fear of rejection one more time because of COVID-19. The Bair Foundation invites potential parents to say yes to our foster children at a time when they need stability the most.
Health Scares Dwindle Foster Home Availability
As COVID-19 grew prevalent, most people decided to avoid unnecessary in-person interactions, which included interactions with people they did not live with.
Teri Hrabovsky, director of the nonprofit One Heart NOLA, cites that since the pandemic began, it has become common for foster parents to express concern about the quarantine policies they should be following when bringing new children into their homes.
In New York City, a place where the virus was expected to spread much more quickly due to its high population, many foster parents refused the intake of new foster children, according to the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS).
The ACS press secretary informed the public that the administration had to explore alternative options for foster children with nowhere to go.
For foster parents refusing children, health safety is their number one concern — especially for those with preexisting conditions. Bree Marchman, Division Director at Children and Family Services in Marin County, California, states:
“Families have been very afraid to take an unknown child into their home for care because they don’t know the amount of COVID exposure that child has had. And we haven’t been able to assure them that children are COVID-free due to the challenges with testing.”
With less foster home availability than before, The Bair Foundation’s need for more foster parents is more immediate than ever.
Foster Children Are Aging Out into an Economic Crisis
For foster children between the ages of 18 and 21, an unprecedented socioeconomic challenge awaits them. Many are struggling just to keep up with basic survival needs.
Larry Malcolm Smith Jr., a 21-year-old former foster child, aged out of the system and into the pandemic. He was not given guidance on healthcare, housing, or job opportunities. Instead, his foster care agency handed him a MetroCard, good for one free trip.
Smith’s experience has not been uncommon among aging-out youth. Due to public assistance services being put on hold when the stay-at-home order was enforced, a significant number of these young adults have been left behind, deprived of the preparatory assistance they needed when entering adulthood.
Felicia Wilson, founder of What About Us, Inc., a nonprofit that mentors aging-out youth, says several of these young adults were unable to afford food during the pandemic due to a lack of social services. And since many of them haven’t had access to laptops, they haven’t been able to apply for food stamps. Those who did apply went as long as 90 days with no reply due to antiquated government workflow.
Currently, The Bair Foundation has 85 foster children in our system who are 18 and older. Soon, these young adults will be entering a world having to maneuver a particularly unstable economy.
We care about our youth who are aging out of the system and strive to help them. We want our transitioning-to-adult youth to be well-equipped with the necessary tools for their financial, emotional, and physical well-being.
Become a Foster Parent Today
The Bair Foundation strives to protect at-risk children by providing them with trustworthy, supportive, adaptable families. Whether it’s taking their first steps, getting their driver’s license, or applying to colleges, these children deserve loving homes where they can ask questions, talk about their problems, and lay their heads to rest at night.
As the effects of the pandemic finally begin to waver, will you say yes when everyone else has said no? You can change the world by changing the lives of our children forever by becoming a foster parent.
Interested in becoming a foster parent?
If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent, let us know by filling out our contact form, and someone from your local office will be in touch with you directly.
Children who enter the foster care system are far less likely to graduate from high school or attend college.
Working with us, you can provide the stability, permanency and direction foster children are desperately yearning for.Become a Foster parent