Check for Us: National Outreach Campaign

A nation-wide and state-specific outreach campaign to find and connect former foster youth with COVID-19 relief funding.

Spark
Support
Co-Drive

Who

500,000+ former foster youth ages 18-26

Why

Ensuring that former foster youth have access to the COVID-19 relief funds designated for them.

Conditions of Systems Change

more info
Policy
Resource Flows
Power Dynamics
Practices
Relationships + Connections
Mental Models

The Challenge

Congress released over $400M in emergency funds directly for current and former foster youth in response to the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the resources exist, most states have no contact with foster youth who are no longer officially in the system. No national, and in most cases, state-wide database of foster youth exists. The program timeframe was extremely short (March-September 2021) and child welfare systems were already overwhelmed by the effects of the pandemic. States did not have the infrastructure or staffing to market, process applications, and rapidly disperse funding for the program.

The Action

Think of Us launched Check for Us, a national outreach campaign to find and connect as many former foster youth as possible with their state to apply for funding. This unprecedented initiative demonstrated a new approach to streamlining government support.

The Stats

  • Connected 30,000+ current and former foster youth to their state
  • Provided technical assistance to 44 states and Washington D.C.
  • $400 million available 
  • 500,000+ potentially eligible young people

The Results

  • Built a custom application portal used by 24 states, leveraging technology to reduce inefficiency
  • Published an implementation report with the Youth Law Center that directly informed White House + Congressional strategy based on direct feedback from 30 states
  • Hosted a National Town Hall to hear from young people about their experiences and barriers to receiving pandemic relief payments
  • First ever national outreach campaign focused on former foster youth
  • 30 states joined the Community of Practice to receive support in finding and connecting with eligible young people (including marketing and social media assets designed by individuals lived experience in partnership with Think of Us)
  • Partnered with 200+ youth-serving and BIPOC organizations and former foster youth

Centering Lived Experience

  • Lived Experience Advisors - official team to design campaign 
  • Lived Experience Ambassadors - social media ambassadors
  • Lived Experience Advisors and Ambassadors were compensated financially for their work

Key Stakeholders

State child welfare agencies, US Children’s Bureau, Youth-Serving Organizations, Young people under age 26

Geographic Location

Nationwide, State-specific

Time Frame

March 2021 - September 2021

Budget

$225K

Philanthropic
Earned Revenue
Government Contract

Approach

Strategic
Opportunistic

Related projects

Federal Engagement: U.S. Congress

Working with Congress to target issues that impact child welfare, youth, and families.

Spark
support
coDrive
VIEW

Foster Youth to Independence Initiative Housing Vouchers

Streamlining processes for foster youth to obtain federal housing vouchers to help them achieve housing stability.

Spark
support
coDrive
VIEW