What to do - Responding to COVID-19 for Youth Formerly In Care
This is "Post One" of a series on COVID-19.
First and foremost, please know that you are not alone in this.
Our first suggestion to youth recently having exited foster care (past ten years, but this may apply even further) is to start gathering documents into a physical folder. Digital is great, but having these things printed is more secure and easier in the long run. These suggestions are based on situations that may arise in response to COVID-19, like changes in housing, changes in employment, or receiving services after the "National Emergency" has passed.
-Current employment for past few months: sit down and find documents that prove your employment. Specifically, find and keep your check stubs. If it’s direct deposited, access it from your employer’s website.
-Bank Statements from past 6 months if available: get these printed!
-Proof of residence: have documentation of payment from where you are renting/living, even if you’re in a room mate situation. It could be a an endorsed check in your bank statement or an actual receipt.
-Social Security Number: make sure you know what this is. Make sure you’re keeping track of your credit score, preferably a through free tool provided by your bank or credit company that won’t lower your score by checking. If you think a family member or previous foster care connection is misusing your number, document now and be prepared to talk to someone later (when COVID-19 priorities have passed)
-Dependents: if you are paying for any services for your children or siblings, make sure you have it documented.
-if possible, get a document from a doctor that specifies you are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and needed to be self isolated.
We don’t know what’s really going to be happening over the next couple weeks or months. But we want you to be as prepared as possible. If you were in college as this happened and have been removed from your dorm we highly recommend reaching out to Together We Rise, who are actively helping former foster youth get back into secure housing while dorms are closing across the country.
Finally, reach out to your network. First, let them know you’re thinking about them, then let them know that they are on your short list for emergencies that may arise from this crisis. If you don’t hear back from them for a few days, reach out again. If you still don’t hear anything reevaluate your list so that you know two or three key people who are willing to help you if an emergency comes up.
Keep us on your list too:
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33