Methods: We used a cross-sectional design, collecting data over 4 months from an online survey launched June 2020. Participants had to reside in Arizona, be a woman, age 18-24, and foster care alumna. After removing ineligible participants and low-quality data (e.g., outliers based on Mahalanobis distance score), our sample included 201 participants. Survey questions asked about foster care experience, IPV and IPV help-seeking, mental health, and demographics. We conducted descriptive and multinomial logistic regression analyses.
Results: On average, participants were age 21.5 (SD= 1.7); 95.2% had no children. Slightly over three-fifths (66.0%) identified as white and currently in a relationship (64.2%). Most had temporary (50.0%) or full-time (40.1%) employment.
Time in care ranged from 1-16 years (M= 6; SD= 4.1). Participants experienced, on average, 2 (SD=0.9) foster care placements, with most (61.7%) being kinship placements. Approximately two-fifths (41.3%) of participants turned age 18 while in foster care (i.e., "aged out").
Overall, 14.9% of participants reported no IPV since COVID-19, 11.9% IPV since COVID-19, and 73.13% no IPV before or since COVID-19. Nearly half (48.8%) reported experiencing more anxiety, depression, or stress since COVID-19.
Among those reporting IPV since COVID-19, 41.7% reported more IPV than before COVID-19, 50.0% less than before, and 8.3% the same as before. Further, most of these participants perceived finding professional IPV help since COVID-19 to be either less difficult (70.8%) or no different (20.8%) than before. Similarly, 62.5% perceived IPV help from family and friends to be less difficult since COVID-19; 20.8% the same as before.
Participants with an IPV history were significantly less likely to report IPV since COVID-19 if they aged out of foster care (RRR= 0.4, 95% CI= [0.004-0.318]).
Conclusions/Implications: Results demonstrate resilience among young women formerly in foster care who experienced IPV. Many of these young women reported less difficulty finding help for IPV since COVID-19, which could explain why half also reported experiencing less IPV. Arizonian youth who age out of foster care may be lower-risk for IPV, given the State's extended foster care services and the Consolidated Appropriation Act, which provides COVID-relief funds for foster youth until age 27. Unfortunately, these funds are time-limited. Permanently establishing these funds and related efforts could help decrease IPV risk among former foster youth.