Current and former foster youth carried a devastating burden of the social and economic consequences caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Existing barriers to housing, educational progress, financial stability, supportive connections and mental health were raised even higher. Think of Us received thousands of reports of youth becoming homeless on their 18th birthday - being dropped off at homeless shelters or couch surfing. The slow-moving and fragmented response of traditional child welfare and nonprofit systems could not meet the urgency or volume of need.
Think of Us partnered with Together We Rise to distribute MicroCash grants of up to $1,000 to current and former foster youth, providing direct and immediate assistance to help meet basic needs. We asked youth about their greatest need to better understand the individual and collective impact of COVID-19 on foster youth. We’ve used this data to strategically launch projects engaging areas of greatest need, inform policy at state and federal levels and demonstrate a new approach to disaster response.