Even without COVID-19, children in foster care face uncertainty about their futures. Many of them have moved in and out of homes, changed schools and “started over,” more times than they have experienced birthdays. As all of us navigate these unprecedented times, the children, teens and families we serve need us now more than ever.
Gateway is a state leader in foster care and behavioral health services. Founded in 1891, we have served children and families in crisis through the Great Depression, two World Wars, 9/11 and the economic crash of 2008. We have seen and survived a lot in the last 129 years of service.
Still, the impact of the coronavirus is creating a set of challenges we have never seen before.
New, Never-Before-Seen Needs:
- Foster youth in college displaced from their dorms. As college campuses have closed across the country, hundreds of foster youth have been stranded with little way of a plan or anywhere to go. Many have faced homelessness. Gateway is working to ensure they have housing and the tools needed to continue their education online.
- Working foster youth laid off from work. Many of our 18-21 year-old foster youth have lost the jobs they worked so hard to get. These youth are trying to prepare for COVID-19 without support form family or even transportation to the grocery store. Gateway is working to ensure they have food, transportation, and the supplies needed to stay safe through this time.
- Foster parents coping with school closures, as they are required to work from home. Many foster parents rely on children attending school to allow them to work during the day. Suddenly, schools and workplaces are closed, leaving these courageous parents to caring for an emotionally disturbed child at home while they try to work. Gateway is working to provide resources, supports and telehealth services to these parents.
- Keeping foster homes licensed and delivering crisis-intervention services to children and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. While many services have closed their doors, Gateway cannot. Children and families are still in crisis, foster homes must remain licensed and foster teens living on their own need support and food. This means in-person home visits and services from Gateway staff are ongoing.
How you can help:
Here is how you can help ensure foster youth and families are cared for through COVID-19:
- Donate online: Your generous donation will help us ensure that children and families are cared for and supported through this time of crisis. Click the link below to donate today.
- Share this page with friends: Share this page and follow us @gatewayfamilies via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates.
- Consider becoming a foster parent: Whether you want to find out more or have been thinking about this for a while, we need more foster parents who are ready to care for children through COVID-19. We can offer one-on-one, in-home training.