SEATTLE – Treehouse staff completed 1,307 surveys for youth in foster care statewide during April, and nearly half (49%) expressed an immediate resource need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Distance Learning Access (15%) was the top survey response. Many of those needs have since been met thanks to aggressive action by schools, Treehouse and partners such as Ticket to Dream which donated laptops. Food Support (4%) and Cell Phones (4%) continue to be top requests.
Enrichment Activities ranked high in the survey (14%) and are now the most requested type of supports.
“Treehouse has been providing enrichment supplies such as sports equipment, and demand remains very high,” said Angela Griffin, Chief Program Officer at Treehouse. “We’re also pleased to report that 51% of youth in care have no immediate resource needs, which is a testament to Treehouse continuing to maintain the same level of service throughout the crisis. That includes regular one-on-one meetings with youth using remote strategies in support of goal setting and academic engagement.”
The nonprofit organization, which partners with youth so they have a childhood and a future, collaborates with social workers, foster care liaisons and caregivers to ensure access to resources. When there are gaps, Treehouse provides tangible resources including clothing, technology and financial assistance.
Treehouse completed surveys for about 13 percent of the 10,000 total youth in foster care across Washington state. Of the youth included, 802 are currently in DCYF Placement and Care Authority (DCYF PCA). Within that group of youth, 12% show indicators that put them at risk of being a runaway during the crisis.
Demand for housing and rental assistance was initially 4% and is down dramatically as Treehouse staff work with youth to navigate various public assistance options.
Donations: While Treehouse has temporally suspended accepting donated items, the organization continues to deliver needed services. Financial gifts supporting these efforts are welcome at treehouseforkids.org/donate.