‘I’m basically just on my own’: COVID-19 pandemic puts foster care system in a bind


College students who were in the system typically rely on resources on college campuses

FRESNO, California (KSEE) — The novel coronavirus pandemic has put the foster care system through the wringer. It’s put families on hold, as well as disadvantage college students who used to be in the system.

Like many in this crisis, Lashari Sampson has been tirelessly looking for a new source of income after being laid off. A junior at Fresno Pacific University, the campus not only was preparing her for her career — but also providing resources to make life easier.


Most of those resources have been cut back, with the pandemic shutting down campuses nationwide. As someone who was in the foster care system, Sampson doesn’t have much else.

“I don’t have my parents to rely on, or to call and ask for help for things like babysitting arrangements. I don’t have that support, I’m basically just on my own here,” Sampson said.

The non-profit City Without Orphans has been busy helping students like Sampson. The organization’s founder, Whitney Bunker, said they’ve helped more than 200 students at several colleges and universities.

With the community’s help, City Without Orphans has helped make sure those students have food, toiletries and secure housing. They’re also sending out gift cards to help.

Overall, the pandemic’s cautions against face-to-face interactions have hindered the foster care system, according to Bunker.

“You have to find foster parents who are willing to take in children — new humans who may have not been possibly sheltered into their home,” she said.

Bunker adds she’s been helping families transition court ordered visits into a virtual setting, like FaceTime.

Bunker said she’ll continue gathering supplies for college aged foster youth. Meanwhile, Sampson remains hopeful in the situation.

“I know a lot of things are high in demand right now, especially essential jobs,” Sampson said. “I’m just waiting to hear back right now.”

To help City Without Orphans, you can click the links to their social media pages below. On their official website, you can find a link to an Amazon wishlist they put together to gather supplies as well.

COVID-19 resource links:

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