Short Report by Hadas Lotan, BSW, Dr. Tehila Refaeli and Dr. Talia Meital Tayri-Schwartz
We surveyed 525 young adults from March 31 through May 2, to explore how care leavers and other at-risk youth fared during the lockdown in terms of employment, income, social support, psychological well-being, and fulfillment of basic needs.
Findings showed that during the first wave of the pandemic in Israel, a staggering number of at-risk youth were unable to pay rent, buy food supplies, or afford hygiene products. Almost half of the participants reported carrying debt. In terms of mental health, one-fourth of participants reported suffering from severe anxiety and depression and seeking urgent psychological support. Only a few reported that their families would be able to support them when needed during the crisis.
Care leavers were significantly more likely than other at-risk youth to deal with lack of basic need and familial support, and to receive financial or material support from national NGOs or local welfare agencies during the outbreak.
Initial findings were presented to The Israeli Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs in May 2020. The results led to the enactment of a special rent grant and other benefits, which aimed to alleviate the pandemic-induced suffering of at-risk youth.