As we all know, during the last couple of years, we have had to adjust to the new ways of working due to a global pandemic, known to us a COVID-19 (Coronavirus). For many of us, this change has been hard to adjust to, but for care leavers and children in care, this has had a massive impact on their wellbeing.
As a former care leaver, myself living through the pandemic, I would have to admit that the transitioning from normal life to working from home and learning from home was extremely hard, just like many other people around the world and out in the community, however for care leavers and children in care, the pandemic would and has had a massive impact on the wellbeing and mental health of people within the system and who are living independently, however many young people who do leave the foster care system, can feel extremely unprepared for independence and have the worry of financial difficulty which can lead to poor mental health without the key support networks that people need.
In a report by Coram Voice, it says that ‘Young People leaving care are a population at risk of poorer outcomes in young adult life across a range of domains including employment, further and higher education and health.’ (Coram Voice, 2017; Courtney et al., 2016; Mann-Feder & Goyette, 2019; Mendes & Snow, 2016, Stein, 2012). However, throughout the pandemic the key issue that was present was that the lockdown and pandemic was going to lead to social isolation, cause issues, and have an impact on people’s mental health. Due to this, ideas were put in place to reduce the impact of social isolation and the impact of the pandemic on care leavers and children in cares well-being.
Throughout the pandemic, the support that I was given throughout the duration of the first lockdown and even now, has been outstanding by my local authority as no matter what, If I had an issue, I was able to contact my personal advisor (PA) and ask to have a phone call with her or even a Teams call to discuss any issues I might have but also to make sure that I was able to have someone there if I needed. As I was still in higher education at the time, the amount of support I was given was a lot, especially from the teaching staff and the disability team making sure I was ok, but for many, this was not the case.
For many, the COVID-19 Pandemic, affected and is affecting everyone in many ways, but the impact of the pandemic has hit care leavers massively for both the good and the bad, however, for many, the pandemic has been able to bring many people closer together by the support of their local authority and the plans that were put in place for them during this time.
For many this was by having a working mobile phone and WIFI to stay in contact with family and friends or to work from home, for others it was to be able to have a check-in once a week with their social worker or personal advisor to see how things are going with them, but most importantly all the support that was given by social workers and local authorities led to one important thing…. to reduce the impact that the pandemic would have on the wellbeing and mental health of care leavers and children in care.
Overall, in my opinion, even though the COVID 19 pandemic has effect many of us in different and personal ways, if it wasn’t for the commitment and poststent arrangement of support for care leavers and children in care from many local authorities, I feel many of us would have felt much worse and started to become isolated, which many local authorities have been trying to avoid.
By Anonymous Care Experienced Blogger