Foster Care Amid Coronavirus: How AFS Continues Critical Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The ongoing spread of novel coronavirus is impacting all of us, and the COVID-19 pandemic is especially effecting the foster care and child welfare system. As youth continue to be placed in foster care due to reasons such as abuse and/or neglect, AFS staff members are providing around-the-clock foster care, adoption and mental health services as the physical, emotional and financial impact of COVID-19 mounts in families.
Here’s a brief overview of how AFS has pivoted to continue delivering critical care during these unprecedented times:
Shifting In-Person Visitations to Videoconferencing
Due to county and state orders around social distancing, AFS has paused many in-person therapeutic visitations, including at-home counseling sessions and family visitations at The Gathering Place. Instead, AFS has shifted to videoconferencing solutions for visitations between youth and their biological family in addition to clinicians and counselors providing remote foster care and mental health services.
Although virtual visitation is far from ideal, as social distancing orders remain in place, we want to ensure the health and safety of our staff and those we are committed to serving.
Placing Youth in Foster Homes
Even as the novel coronavirus spreads, many youth are still in need of loving and stable foster homes –perhaps now more than ever. AFS continues to be committed to finding the best homes for youth as the need arises. New safety protocols are in place to protect staff, resource parents and clients as we continue to place youth in foster care.
Recruiting, Approving and Training New Resource Parents Remotely
We are still very much in need of resource parents to step in and help foster youth. The need for foster homes is as pressing now as it has been in the past. Our Resource Parent Approval team is still working hard to review, approve and train new resource parents. You can virtually start the foster care home approval process, which are happening remotely through videoconferencing. Training programs and sessions have also shifted online and will continue until shelter-in-place orders have been lifted.
Now is also a great time to learn more about the foster care process by reaching out at:
Interested in becoming a resource parent? Start your application process online today!
Supporting Transition-Aged Youth
Older, transition-aged youth (TAY) in foster care have been greatly impacted by COVID-19. Those who are in college have had to leave campus, scrambling to find food, shelter and the necessary technology needed to keep taking classes online. Further, many transition-aged youth have found themselves laid off or furloughed from their jobs.
AFS’s Transition Aged Youth programs and services are still supporting and assisting TAY in foster care, providing these young adults with the essentials they need. In particular, AFS continues to help TAY by supplementing housing costs, filing for unemployment and securing laptops for them to work remotely.
Help AFS and Foster Youth During These Unprecedented Times
COVID-19 has impacted all of us. But, the novel coronavirus has hit foster youth and their families especially hard. Please consider supporting the most vulnerable youth. No matter how much you can contribute, you will help support the mission of AFS and those we serve during this critical time. Together, we can strive to ensure every foster youth AFS cares for has access to the critical resources and services they need. To learn more and to donate please visit: https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/AlternativeFamilyServices/covid-19.html