In May 2020, state-based organizations of foster families and kinship caregivers from across the country wrote to Congress to share their unique point of view about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of children and youth in foster care and their families. The letter coincides with National Foster Care Month, which for more than 30 years has been a time to recognize the importance of our country’s foster care safety net and its vital role in the lives of children, youth and families. This year, National Foster Care Month arrives as our nation battles a global pandemic that poses serious health threats and has disrupted the lives of all families, with unique impacts on families caring for children in foster care.
Following are significant needs lifted up in the letter.
- Children and families involved in child welfare and the professionals who support them need access to rapid testing along with other first responders.
- Foster families and kinship caregivers need economic security so they are able to continue their caregiving.
- Families and children need timely access to physical and mental health care for children and youth in foster care and those who leave foster care to reunification, adoption and guardianship.
- Foster, adoptive, and kinship family recruitment, training and licensing should be a national priority today and in the future.
- Families and workers need technology tools, including cell phones, laptops and internet access.
- Children who have special needs require extra support with home schooling.
- Foster families, adoptive, and kinship caregivers need peer support.
Read the full letter here.