A Message from NFYI About Coronavirus
In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, I am humbled to see the incredible dedication of our health professionals and the good will of neighbors, friends and strangers. As the crisis overwhelms our hospitals, disproportionately impacting our most vulnerable citizens, I know that NFYI is the future lifeline for current and former foster children.
We have brought together and talked with former foster youth online over the past several days, and we know that the everyday challenges they experience are even greater with the impact of COVID-19. With our schools and dorms closed, we know that many older and former foster youth are facing increasingly unstable situations, as the stress of losing a job, coupled with food and housing insecurities is creating even more tension. With this backdrop constantly on our minds, our NFYI advocacy programs are more important than ever before.
As many of you have heard, the rapidly changing situation around COVID-19, both within our organization and nationally, has resulted in the postponement of our annual Congressional Shadow Day activities. This is a great sadness for all of us, as we know how valuable this experience is for our young leaders and for Congressional Representatives. At the same time, our need to move the child welfare agenda forward is more pressing than ever.
To meet this immediate need, NFYI is pivoting to lift the voices of our constituents at this critical time to make sure we are that future lifeline. We will be planning and rolling out new initiatives in the coming days and weeks to make sure our young people are heard. Here are just a few of our current activities:
- Bringing former foster youth together in a time of social isolation through regular weekly webinars.
- Immediately mobilizing former foster youth across the US online to make sure decision makers hear their voices loud and clear and so that the next stimulus package addresses their specific needs.
- Training young people on what the federal stimulus packages mean for them and how to access resources.
- Mobilizing young people across the nation and locally through targeted, consistent social media, email, phone and text.
- Partnering with the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth to develop virtual town halls and one-on-one meetings for constituents and Congressmembers.
- Bringing young people together with health experts to understand what they can do to stay safe and to dispel myths and misinformation.
With the cancellation of Shadow Day, we are following the national and health authority guidelines. But our hearts are heavy for foster youth. If you can, we hope you will consider making a donation to sustain our advocacy work so that foster youth are remembered at every stage of this crisis. We appreciate you!