Congress released over $400M in emergency funds directly for current and former foster youth in response to the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the resources exist, most states have no contact with foster youth who are no longer officially in the system. No national, and in most cases, state-wide database of foster youth exists. The program timeframe was extremely short (March-September 2021) and child welfare systems were already overwhelmed by the effects of the pandemic. States did not have the infrastructure or staffing to market, process applications, and rapidly disperse funding for the program.
Think of Us launched Check for Us, a national outreach campaign to find and connect as many former foster youth as possible with their state to apply for funding. This unprecedented initiative demonstrated a new approach to streamlining government support.
State child welfare agencies, US Children’s Bureau, Youth-Serving Organizations, Young people under age 26