NBC News – Foster care crisis: More kids are entering, but fewer families are willing to take them in
The coronavirus pandemic has left many victims in its wake, and the nation’s foster care system is no exception. A recent NBC news article reveals that more kids are entering the foster care system, but fewer families are willing to house them in fear of spreading Covid-19. Children in highly populated areas like New York, New Orleans, and Chicago have been hit the hardest. Chicago alone has seen a 33% increase in the number of children who need foster care services. Foster parents fear expanding their households amidst the pandemic could lead to exposure.
With courts closed, visitations suspended, and adoptions delayed, Covid-19 has left the most vulnerable population feeling isolated and alone. For many children, the only interaction they may have with family members is through zoom; some children have lost touch with family members altogether. The pandemic has drastically increased the waiting period for family reunification and has left many parents facing separation without options.
Perhaps the most heartbreaking effect of the pandemic is the likely increase in child abuse cases. With Covid safety regulations in place, investigative agencies are struggling to adequately assess child abuse allegations. Traditional face-to-face visits have been replaced with video chat interviews, leaving advocates worried that children are unable to speak freely about what is happening to them in the home. A disadvantage of video chat is not knowing who else may be in the room while the interview is going on or being able to see if the child has any physical marks of abuse which can easily be concealed given the nature and limits of online communication. As the coronavirus pandemic continues, more and more children enter the foster care system with little hope of finding a forever home.