Post COVID19 Foster Care
May 11, 2020 by Jonathan Reid
As we continue to navigate this challenging season, we are all looking forward to the day when we can emerge from current social distancing and stay-at-home orders and begin to experience some sense of normalcy. Of course, when this emergence occurs, many of us are wondering, “What exactly will we discover on the other side?” For those of us serving vulnerable children and families impacted by foster care, this has been a particularly vexing question.
Unfortunately, child welfare experts are predicting an increase in children and youth entering the foster care system due to several converging issues.
First, increased stress and social isolation can lead to an increase in instances of child neglect and abuse. Additionally, the economic and systemic impact of COVID19 may be a tipping point for at-risk families who have limited support. As children and youth emerge back into their normal social networks, child welfare systems may experience a surge of children entering foster care.
Second, due to current restrictions, recruitment efforts for new foster and adoptive families are significantly limited. This will lead to a window in which a lower than the normal number of new foster/adoptive families are entering the system. Further, current licensing classes and home studies are on hold, which means individuals who are in the process of becoming foster or adoptive parents have to wait.
While we don’t know the future with certainty, we can confidently assert that the need for foster and adoptive parents will not be any less urgent than the current need. Most likely, the need will be more urgent.
We recently hosted our first Virtual Foster Care and Adoption Information Session in collaboration with the MA Department of Children and Families and Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange. Over 90 participants joined us with over 70 households from local church communities in MA. This was the first of its kind session in our region and we hope will serve as a great launching point for future sessions. We are already following up with churches and individuals who are interested in their next step.
We know that many in the Christian community have seriously considered foster care and adoption but, for a variety of reasons, have not yet taken the step. If that’s you, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more important or strategic time to provide care for one of your vulnerable neighbors in need of a temporary (foster care) or permanent (adoption) home. If you have any questions about foster care or adoption OR are ready to begin the process, please reach out to us!