March 4, 2021
The COVID-19 crisis has caused many to feel more isolated, stressed, and anxious. For children and teenagers, who rely on routines and predictability to feel a sense of stability, the mental health impact of the pandemic has been sizable. At the same time, the disruption to daily life over the past year has made existing challenges even harder for foster care youth, who already have to grapple with the stress and trauma of being separated from their families and attending family court proceedings.
In 2019, New York City allocated $10 million in funding toward Fair Futures, then a new initiative recognizing the additional burdens kids in the foster care system face and offering long-term support for foster youth from middle school through age 26. Fair Futures received some funding in the following fiscal year budget, but far less than initially anticipated — $2.7 million instead of $10 million — as the city was already facing a budget crisis due to the pandemic. Advocates for children and foster care youth are now pushing to ensure sufficient funding in the city’s next fiscal budget for Fair Futures, which could otherwise expire in July.