July 31, 2020
How COVID-19 Impacts Our Youth and Their Families
And how we are meeting their needs, no matter what.
Friends of the Children–Portland serves over 500 high priority youth living in the metro area. The vast majority of our youth are affected by multiple adverse childhood experiences and are most directly impacted by job losses, basic need shortages, evictions and social isolation related to COVID-19.
The impact of COVID-19 is exacerbating already high levels of trauma among the youth we serve, and it poses a serious threat to their immediate and long-term stability.
- Many of our youth and families rely on public support services and experience urgent levels of need due to loss of employment-related to COVID-19.
- 60% of our youth and families experience moderate to severe food insecurity and are concerned about how they will feed their families.
- Even before COVID-19, families faced challenges navigating these overburdened systems, including language barriers.
Before COVID-19, lack of access to technology like Wi-Fi and devices made it difficult to do schoolwork. Now that schools and libraries are closed to date, this digital disconnect has increased.
- 40% of caregivers report experiencing internet shutoffs.
- 36% report having no cell phone or experiencing service shutoffs.
Most of our youth live in school districts where students and teachers have less access to digital resources and are at a higher risk of falling behind academically – a large concern as school districts consider remote learning this fall.
- 90% of Friends report that youth and caregivers feel confused, unprepared and overwhelmed by the impacts of school closures.
We are meeting their needs. No matter what.
As we work to protect the health of our youth, staff and community, we have created Remote Service Plans customized for each youth we mentor. Friends of the Children provides a long-term program model, and we commit to serving our youth no matter what.
Here are ways we are meeting the needs of our youth and their families during this pandemic:
- We provide individualized Remote Service Plans based on the age of youth and their access to the internet or communication devices.
- We set goals with our youth and help them adjust to their new circumstances.
Remote Mentoring looks like:
- Homework help
- Virtual music lessons
- Watching movies
- Online games
- Talk about the day
- Read books on FaceTime
- Cook together over Zoom
- Singing and dancing videos
Supporting the whole family is more important than ever.
- We connect families to resources such as food, rental assistance, health care and other essential social service supports.
- We partner with the caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed with the compounding impacts of COVID-19 and don't have the normal support systems of schools, daycare centers, and predictable employment.
- We have bilingual resource coordinators, staff and supporters to help families where they need it most.
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