One More Adversity: The Lived Experience of Care Leavers in Ireland During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Robbie Gilligan, Eavan Brady, Laura Cullen

This study explores the lived experiences of care leavers in Ireland during the COVID-19 pandemic. While COVID-19 has undoubtedly been difficult for many groups, care leavers are among those who may have faced additional pressures during this period. International evidence suggests that under normal conditions care leavers may already face more difficulties in relation to accommodation, employment, health, and wellbeing as well as facing increased risks of social isolation. A small number of studies examining various aspects of care leavers’ experiences during COVID-19 in other jurisdictions suggests that many care leavers did indeed experience specific struggles related to these issues.

The core objectives of the study were:

  1. To interview care leavers in Ireland about their lived experience of life in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  2. To gain insight into the big and small changes in care leavers’ everyday lives that came with the Covid-19 pandemic – both during lockdown and after restrictions began to lift.
  3. To learn how care leavers have tried to negotiate their way through those changes, the challenges and opportunities they encountered along the way, and the formal or informal resources they have found helpful.
  4. To explore how care leavers made sense of their experience during this unique period in history and their views on whether and how their lives may be different in the future as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  5. To provide key messages for research, policy, and practice.