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April 2020Vol. 21, No. 3Virtual Town Hall for Older Youth in Foster Care on COVID-19

On March 19, 2020, the Children's Bureau, in collaboration with Think of Us, hosted a virtual town hall for older youth in foster care and child welfare leaders, including state commissioners and their staff. The virtual gathering focused on the immediate and pressing issues older youth in foster care are facing during this challenging time, including the closing of schools, colleges, and universities; meeting basic living needs; accessing medical and mental health services; navigating financial assistance issues; and obtaining or maintaining transportation, child care, and housing or shelter.

Dr. Milner assured the youth that they are at the front-and-center of the Children's Bureau's efforts in responding to the pandemic and that they will not be left in unsafe situations as a result of procedures and precautions states and local agencies adopt. To further these efforts, the Children's Bureau has called on state child welfare agencies to reach out to any young person who is faced with inadequate housing as a result of the closure of dormitories. The discussion also highlighted various other "flexibilities" that can help mitigate the hardship some older youth may experience as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.