Foster children have enormous challenges in the best of times. The COVID-19 pandemic threatens them with even greater turmoil, isolating them from adult supervisors and friends and making it harder to move on to new lives — either with biological or adoptive families, or as newly independent adults.
The new reality brought by the pandemic may have made some foster kids’ already difficult situations “100 times worse.”
Celeste Bodner, executive director of FosterClub, a nonprofit organization through which foster youth connect and support each other, says mental health crises are a palpable risk, given “the stress this crisis is causing, layered on top of the preexisting trauma.”
Because of the pandemic, the teachers, coaches, and other adults whose watchful eyes once proved a helpful barometer of foster children’s well-being are now kept at a distance.
Jeff Sprinkle, a long-time court-appointed foster child advocate in Georgia, estimates that under normal circumstances, 17 adults are engaged to some extent in the lives of each of the foster children he helps. That has shrunk drastically, he said.
“It’s hard on the children,” said Sprinkle, 66. “But it’s also hard on the foster parents, because they end up filling the shoes of the 17 people who were investing in the children’s lives previously.”
Group homes also face challenges of social distancing and maintaining other regulations that slow the spread of COVID-19. And for some, these homes are their safe place.
Other issues such as delayed cases due to court closures, travel restrictions inhibiting family visits, etc. are taking a toll on kids of all ages in the foster system.
Despite the circumstances of the world, Giving Kids Hope Foundation continues moving forward in its mission to provide assistance to foster care kids in our community. It may feel like the world stopped for a while, but foster care kids never stopped needing us all.
Our love, our support, and our time makes a HUGE difference in their lives. Will you help?