In various parts of the country, the Coronavirus has thrown the foster care system into a crisis. Despite all of the uncertainties, we work hard to make sure that families continue to progress through their parenting and reunification goals. Children are still being removed from households where child abuse or neglect is alleged. Still, with courts nationwide closing their doors and indefinitely extending legal deadlines, parents are left feeling helpless and hopeless. Returning children home to their parents is an emergency, and in a lot of instances, this crisis could delay family reunification for thousands of children and families worldwide.

Foster Care comes with an already unique set of challenges, and with our current pandemic, it makes things increasingly complex. Across the nation, most visits between birth parents and their children in foster care have been suspended or switched to phone​ or video calls at a time when youth need reassurance and love more than ever.

Effects on Parents and Children

For many parents and children, mental health is worsening. Parents losing their jobs and having the pressures of financial strain takes a toll and worries them that they can’t care for their children. Parents are struggling to manage work and home responsibilities while support systems diminish because they are unable to call elderly relatives to help with their child care. Children attending school usually provides a daily respite, and many children thrive on the structure and consistency of their classrooms – which is currently not an option. Historically, disasters – natural or otherwise – increase the likelihood of both child abuse and domestic violence due to stress and confinement.  Neglect related to substance abuse is a major contributing factor to foster care placements, and relapse rates are at a staggering high. 

Our New Normal

With so many people in isolation, the maltreatment of children is less likely to be observed and reported. This has not slowed down our intake. Since March 18th, our Foster Care Program has received 42 new admissions and opened 11 Kinship Foster Homes. In some areas of the country and even state, foster parents are stating that they can’t accept new foster children due to the fear of potentially bringing the virus into their homes. We are fortunate as many of our foster families have continued to step up and welcome children into their homes. As an agency, we are remaining optimistic and carrying on with business with this “new normal.”

Foster Care Workers are Silent Heroes

There are so many essential workers out there, and we thank and appreciate them all. I would like to highlight foster care workers because they just may be the silent heroes. They are seldom thought of within the essential group, and their job is pivotal, maybe now more than ever. If you see a foster parent or someone who works in foster care, please take a moment to thank them not just during a pandemic, but throughout the year.


Paris Pearson

Director of Foster Care