Children in foster care must go to school in person, Department of Child Safety says

Arizona Republic, July 29, 2020

“The Arizona Department of Child Safety has advised foster parents and relatives who care for kids in DCS custody that the children should attend school in person, whenever schools reopen.”

Suzanne Cordiero, a foster parent, said the people actually caring for the child in their homes should determine what’s the best school option. A blanket order — even with some exceptions, which DCS says it will consider — signals that foster kids aren’t the same as other kids, she said.

Full article here.

Sen. Cortez Masto supports bill to boost affordable housing for foster youth to prevent homelessness during COVID-19 pandemic

July 23rd, 2020

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto is doing what she can to help foster youth. In light of recent reports that foster youth aging out of the system during the coronavirus pandemic are at an increased risk for homelessness, Senator Cortez Masto is cosponsoring legislation to help provide stable housing options for foster care youth transitioning to adulthood. 

Full article here.

Child welfare system shifts to proactive approach amid pandemic

July 22nd, 2020

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The COVID-19 pandemic changed so many things like government agencies and services they provide, including the child welfare system. The way the system had worked previously was reactive. Students spend time in school, they’re watched by adults, adults call in to Child Protective Services if they notice incidents of abuse or neglect. With children no longer in schools and with returning to class in the fall in question, they’ve pivoted from reactive to proactive.

Full article here.

It’s Time for State Prevention Services Systems

July 21st, 2020

As we navigate the effects of a global pandemic and economic recession, we have the opportunity to rethink the ways we provide services and supports to children and families before they find themselves in crisis. Essential to this new thinking is the realignment of our systems to make them more prevention-oriented, integrated, science-informed, and equitable, and thereby better meeting the needs of children and families, not just during this pandemic, but into the future.

Full article here.

Proposal cuts $130 million from Texas health agency to ease coronavirus-battered budget

July 9, 2020 The Statesman

State officials have proposed cutting $133 million in health services from the current budget, whittling away dollars in women’s health, child abuse protection and services for adults and children with disabilities, according to advocates.

The cuts are in response to a May 20 directive from Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen to state agencies to cut 5% from their current two-year budgets as the state grapples with the spread of the coronavirus and a weakening economy. The proposal by Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which consumes the largest portion of the state’s spending after education, could potentially reverse legislative requirements to better oversee child care facilities and court-ordered mandates to improve the state’s beleaguered foster care system.

The proposal is also sparse on details about how women’s health, family violence prevention programs and services for individuals with traumatic brain injuries — all mentioned as possible cuts — would be affected.

Full article here.

Coronavirus Cases Near 100 for Youth in California Residential Facilities

July 9, 2020 Chronicle of Social Change

Almost 100 children and teens living in residential facilities in California have caught the coronavirus, state officials confirmed this week, including infections at four group care programs in Los Angeles County.

The number of infected children is a fraction of the more than 2,600 foster youth in residential programs in the state. But it is nonetheless a sign of the rampage the virus has been on of late – striking not only prisons and nursing homes, but centers for children who have been taken from their parents due to abuse or neglect. Some youth have been sent to quarantine in trailers.

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Barbara Ferrer on Wednesday suggested that deaths in the county could soon rise thanks to an increasing number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations.
“We should be worried because there are a lot less eyes on these facilities, especially now during the pandemic,” said Jacqueline Robles, a 21-year-old former foster youth working as a peer advocate for the law firm representing Los Angeles County children.

Full article here.

COVID-19 outbreaks in AZ child detention centers worry advocates

July 8th, 2020

As COVID-19 infection rates and hospitalizations continue to reach record levels in Arizona, some advocates worry that children in detention and rehabilitation centers are at risk and in the blind spot of public health agencies that are grappling with a furious spread of the illness in the broader community.

Arizona is the site of one of the largest outbreaks at a child rehabilitation center in the country, with the Mingus Mountain Academy having 92 confirmed COVID-19 cases among the children it houses. Another 20 staff members tested positive for the virus.

Full article here.

Lawmakers Aim To Address Problems of Aging Out of Foster Care During a Pandemic

July 8th, 2020

Aging out of the foster care system can be a challenge under normal circumstances, but during a pandemic, it can be even harder. Now with COVID-19, hundreds of young adults who are aging out of the system and still struggling to find a job or a place to live, are now also at risk of losing their support system. Also, those who might have been able to bring their case to court were unable to since courts were closed during the height of the pandemic. Courts have only started to reopen over the last month.

Full article here.

SC is beginning to locate school children who went silent amid coronavirus pandemic

July 8th, 2020

South Carolina is starting to locate many of the children whom schools have not heard from since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, state data show.

As of July 7, schools have been able to reach 5,654 more students than last month, in which schools reported being unable to reach a total of 16,085 students since in-person classes were closed on March 16, according to survey data and a previous article from The State.

Full article here.

Foster Care’s New Reality: COVID-19 creates new challenges for kids, families

July 8th, 2020

Foster children face a number of obstacles during normal times, but this pandemic has stacked even more odds against them and their caregivers. The virus has impacted weekly supervised visits, developmental therapy, court cases pending, even adoptions.Resource parents help our county’s most vulnerable children. They play a critical role in helping build a bridge, providing a safe, supportive home for children who are unable to live with their birth parents due to neglect or substance abuse. 

Full article here.