Resources for Young People with Experience in Foster Care
COVID-19 is dramatically disrupting all of our lives, including the lives of over 14,000 children and youth in foster care in Arizona. Many of these young people were already struggling to find a sense of normalcy when COVID-19 pulled the rug out from underneath them again.
As our policymakers both in Washington, D.C. and here in Arizona respond to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Children’s Action Alliance is advocating to ensure that the needs of current and former foster youth are addressed.
What’s Happening Now?
On the federal level, the Children’s Bureau has waived the requirement for in-person, monthly visits between child welfare workers and foster children; temporarily permitting those visits to occur via videoconferencing. (Full Letter)
In Arizona, the Department of Child Safety has issued a set of directives and guidance in response to COVID-19. (DCS COVID-19 Information and Resources)
Effective March 19 through April 30 or later:
- Investigations of child abuse and neglect continue to occur through in-person contacts.
- Most monthly contacts between DCS and children in foster care are occurring through videoconferencing.
- Parent-child visitation is occurring virtually.
- New hire policies have been temporarily adjusted to address potential staffing gaps.
We must do our best to anticipate the near- and long-term collateral consequences of this pandemic for young people in foster care as we move through this crisis:
- Plan for “re-placing” significant numbers of youth who are sick and need to be moved away from ill caretakers or group home settings due to outbreaks; or whose caretakers have lost jobs and are no longer able to meet the needs of the children in their care. The need to find new placements for children is already a pressing concern in New York.
- Provide additional supports for kinship caregivers. Many of these kin caregivers are older, placing them at higher risk of complications from COVID-19. Kin are essential parts of keeping children safe and our child welfare system functioning. DCS and its contractors need to proactively reach out to kin and ensure that they have the financial and supportive services they need during this crisis. (COVID-19 Fact Sheet for Grandfamilies)
- Ensure longer-term supports are available for transition-aged foster youth and former foster youth who have “aged-out” of care. These youth are at extraordinary risk of suffering the harshest of the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19. In partnership with community stakeholders, Fostering Advocates Arizona is surveying this population to learn what is needed most right now. A list of resources is available on to the FAAZ website.