LA County Quarantine Housing

Our Reach

The Challenge

In Los Angeles County, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) began using hospital settings to quarantine foster youth who were sick or had been exposed to COVID-19. The need to preserve community health and safety compromised the ability of the child welfare system and nonprofits to deliver supportive interventions for transition aged youth in foster care. A strategy was needed to replace the use of isolated hospital settings that cost more than $3,000 per youth, per day with a more youth-centered, trauma-informed, and cost effective intervention to meet youth’s basic needs.

The Action

Think of Us partnered with LA County DCFS and youth with lived experience in foster care to redesign the Foster Youth COVID-19 Quarantine Program. The resulting program provided AirBnB like settings for foster youth who were sick or had been exposed to COVID-19, facilitating an environment that was youth-centered, trauma-informed, met CDC guidelines, and significantly reduced costs.

The Stats

  • Approximately
    600 days
    of housing provided 
  • Reduced total cost from
    ~$2.1 million to $450K
  • 59 young people served
  • 6 housing units made available

The Results

  • Reduced average cost of quarantine from $3,000 to $700 per youth, per day.
  • Timely and effective cross-sector partnership, responsive to the unique and immediate needs of youth while promoting health and safety.
  • In Fall 2021, AirBnB will take over the contract and work directly with LA DCFS, representing the first TOU project to successfully transition from a “co-drive” role to a “support” role, through which we facilitated public/private innovation and then transitioned leadership to a project partner.
  • Mitigated possible negative outcomes for transition-age foster youth during global pandemic through demonstration of a crisis housing model that centers lived experience.
  • Created alternative model for respite care and established a foundation for future innovation, including integrating family members and caregivers into staffing solutions.

Centering Lived Experience

Collaborated to design a youth-centered strategy that: 

  • Created a trauma-informed, supportive environment beneficial to healing
  • Increased youth access to DCFS and other supports 
  • Reduced retraumatization by avoiding youth placement in hospital settings

Collaborators with lived experience were compensated financially for their engagement.

Geographic Location

Los Angeles County, California

Time Frame

April 2020-Fall 2021



Earned Revenue
Government Contract

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