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Kids who aged out of foster care struggling in weakened economy

The impacts of COVID-19 can be seen across the foster system, from foster parents struggling, to children who can't reconnect with biological families and more.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Children in the foster care system aren't spared from being impacted by the coronavirus crisis.

Nicole Taylor, the executive director of Congregations For Kids, says not only are kids not being allowed to reconnect with their biological families right now, but older youth are exiting the system into a workforce that's depleted.

"Many of them have already lost their jobs,” Taylor said. 

In fact, Taylor says her organization started handing out gift cards to help them through.

“I think we’ve been able to help about 78 foster youth at this point," Taylor said. "We’ve heard back from them saying, I can't tell you how much this has helped. There was one foster youth who hadn’t eaten for two days.”

Taylor says another issue is that if a child is being abused in their home, right now, there are fewer eyes to see it.

"The number one reporters of child abuse neglect are teachers, and right now teachers aren’t seeing their kids,” Taylor said.

RELATED: After schools closed, child abuse referrals slowed

Taylor says that’s what the foster care community fears the most.

“The prediction is that there’s going to be a very quick rise of kids coming into foster care once COVID passes,” Taylor said. 

Congregations for Kids ordinarily recruits and trains foster parents, but can’t do that right now.

"Unfortunately, training and licensing foster parents has also come to a stop,” Taylor said.

Still, Taylor says she hopes people will keep all of these kids in mind, especially if you think you can get involved.

"If somebody is out there and they’ve thought about wanting to do this, now is the time to do it because you will be needed more than ever," Taylor said.

While they can't operate as usual, Taylor says they will be holding a virtual foster care information session on April 22. You can find more information about that here. For more information on how to donate money or gift cards, click here. 

Taylor says Walmart, Target, or Harris Teeter gift cards in any amount are most helpful.

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