Experiences of Young Adults with a History of Foster Care During COVID-19

Saralyn C. Ruff and Deanna Linville - Children and Youth Services Review


This study assessed the needs, concerns, and strengths of young adults (ages 18 - 26), previously placed in foster care, in response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). One hundred and twenty-seven participants completed the survey in May and June, offering a preliminary description of the impact of Shelter in Place (SIP) due to COVID-19 on their wellbeing. The mixed-methods, cross-sectional survey assessed participants’ perspectives regarding 1) changes in physical, financial, professional, social, relational, and psychological levels of concern and 2) the general impact of SIP due to COVID-19, as well as the unique impact as a current or former foster youth. Participants reported significant increases in their level of concern in each domain from before SIP orders to during SIP, which was maintained in anticipation of the year following SIP. Participants also described their experiences with SIP and COVID-19 as unique, due to their lived experience as a former foster youth. Findings highlight a need for a coordinated short and long-term response to address the needs and concerns of this vulnerable population.