Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on foster care in the United States

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Under normal circumstances, the United States child welfare systems is considered by experts to be underfunded [1] and strains social workers with high case loads. [2] However, during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. experienced an unprecedented lockdown [3] and national unemployment reached a record high. [4] This presents an issue because it is recorded that during times of economic stress, child abuse skyrockets. [5]

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A prime example of this occurred in the Dallas–Fort Worth area, which already witnessed a major uptick in abuse rates. Six children, all under the age of 4, were physically abused, as reported by Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth. Doctors believe all of these cases were driven by coronavirus- related stress. [6] In the age of COVID-19, where families were locked inside their homes, human contact was limited, and courts closed, the United States witnessed an aggressive upsurge in child abuse rates as a result of several systemic flaws.

Identification

Identifying and reporting child maltreatment is the first step in all child welfare system work. [7] It is how the child's mistreatment comes to the attention of authorities and, from there, action is taken. One of the biggest mechanisms the system has traditionally relied on has been mandatory reporters, such as teachers, law enforcement, and health care professionals. A child's regular contact with their community has been relied on for individuals to be able to identify and report abuse. Upon the national quarantine, fewer cases began to be reported. An illustration of this may be seen in the U.S. Midwest. Illinois abuse hotline receives about 950 calls a day, approximately 6,650 a week. After Governor Pritzker closed schools, that number dropped by 45% within the week. [8]

The problems stemming from closures is not limited to America. In England, Anne Longfield, the Children's Commissioner for England, estimated that over 2.3 million minors in England are currently at high-risk for abuse and unable to access social services as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. [9]

Lack of youth resources

Outside of the child welfare system, another crucial element that contributes to offsetting child neglect is that schools continue to be some of the only places many youth receive mental-health help, physical activity, nourishment and clean water. [10] More than six million students across 11,000 American schools are the primary provider of critical services and, until now, relied on schools for those resources. [10] Kindship Care is another resource child welfare agencies are trying to utilize more during the pandemic. Placing kids within their families has greater outcomes for the physical and mental wellbeing. [11]

Impact on the investigation process

The next step in child welfare work is investigating and intervening. The current foster care system in the U.S. operates on worker mobility, human contact and the frequent movement of children. [12] However, with that movement grinding to a halt after the lockdown, caseworkers are limited in their ability to monitor and investigate potential cases of abuse. [13]

The U.S. Children's Bureau evaluated alternatives to caseworker inspections, while many state and local governments began limiting or canceling abuse allegation investigations. [14] One of the most extreme measures was Maine's Office of Child and Family Services suspending all caseworker home visits; [14] many agencies and social workers were worried about contracting or transmitting the virus and as a result they conducted investigations from the front doors of homes or over video chats. [15]

Effects on housing and visitation

Another element of this is the housing of children already in foster care. Major cities around the world witnessed a serious contraction in available foster housing because many foster parents and facilities are typically run by older individuals. [16] [17] In-person visitations between family members during a separation is recognized as important for both the parent(s) and the child; however, similar to home inspections, separated families transitioned to virtual visitations. [18]

Family courts

One of the final steps in a child welfare case is that of courts establishing a long-term solvency plan. This could include a variety of solutions from reunification to the revocation of custody, all dependent on the individualized case. However, because of the long-term impacts of this final step, during COVID-19, experts have worried about the legal backlog and pileup. Children currently in foster care (and any children taken under lockdown) because of alleged abuse or neglect now await trial. Many legal institutions across the world are closing their doors because of COVID-19 and many are pushing trial and meeting dates back indefinitely. [19] A prime example of this is in Los Angeles County, one of the largest counties in the United States, where all non-essential work was suspended, including family courts. [20]

Related Research Articles

Foster children in Canada are known as permanent wards,. A ward is someone, in this case a child, placed under protection of a legal guardian and are the legal responsibility of the government. Census data from 2011 counted children in foster care for the first time, counting 47,885 children in care. The majority of foster children – 29,590, or about 62% – were aged 14 and under. The wards remain under the care of the government until they "age out of care." This age is different depending on the province.

Child protective services (CPS) is the name of a government agency in many states of the United States responsible for providing child protection, which includes responding to reports of child abuse or neglect. Some states use other names, often attempting to reflect more family-centered practices, such as department of children and family services (DCFS). CPS is also sometimes known by the name of department of social services, though these terms more often have a broader meaning.

Foster care in the United States

Foster care is the term used for a system in which a minor who has been made a ward is placed in an institution, group home, or private home of a state certified caregiver. The placement of the child is usually arranged through the government or a social-service agency. The institution, group home or foster parent is provided compensation for expenses.

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COVID-19 pandemic in Israel Ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Israel

The COVID-19 pandemic in Israel is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. The first case in Israel was confirmed on 21 February 2020, when a female citizen tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 at the Sheba Medical Center after return from quarantine on the Diamond Princess ship in Japan. As a result, a 14-day home isolation rule was instituted for anyone who had visited South Korea or Japan, and a ban was placed on non-residents and non-citizens who were in South Korea for 14 days before their arrival.

COVID-19 pandemic in Guernsey Ongoing COVID-19 viral pandemic in Guernsey

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Human rights issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, human rights violations including censorship, discrimination, arbitrary detention and xenophobia were reported from different parts of the world. Amnesty International has responded that "Human rights violations hinder, rather than facilitate, responses to public health emergencies and undercut their efficiency." The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that stay-at-home responses for slowing the pandemic must not be mandated at the expense of human rights. Broader concerns have been expressed about the effect of COVID-19 containment measures on human rights, democracy and governance.

COVID-19 pandemic in Guinea-Bissau Ongoing COVID-19 viral pandemic in Guinea-Bissau

The COVID-19 pandemic in Guinea-Bissau is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. The virus was confirmed to have reached Guinea-Bissau in March 2020.

COVID-19 pandemic in Karnataka Ongoing COVID-19 viral pandemic in Karnataka, India

The first case of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Indian state of Karnataka was confirmed on 8 March 2020. Two days later, the state became the first in India to invoke the provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, which are set to last for a year, to curb the spread of the disease. As of 5 February 2021, Karnataka has had 941,500 cases and 12,230 deaths.

COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland Ongoing COVID-19 viral pandemic in Scotland

The COVID-19 pandemic was first confirmed to have spread to Scotland on 1 March 2020 with the positive COVID-19 test of a male Tayside resident who had recently travelled between Scotland and northern Italy. The first reported case of community transmission was on 11 March 2020 and the first reported coronavirus death in Scotland was on 13 March 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic reached Northern Ireland on 27 February 2020. The Department of Health reports 2,103 people have died after testing positive for COVID, while the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency reports 2,877 people have died. Northern Ireland has the lowest COVID death rate in the United Kingdom. The vast majority of deaths linked to COVID were among those over the age of 75 and almost half were in nursing care homes.

Mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic Psychological aspect of viral outbreak

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the mental health of people around the world. Similar to the past respiratory viral epidemics, such as the SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and the influenza epidemics, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in different population groups, including the healthcare workers, general public, and the patients and quarantined individuals. The Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee of the United Nations recommends that the core principles of mental health support during an emergency are "do no harm, promote human rights and equality, use participatory approaches, build on existing resources and capacities, adopt multi-layered interventions and work with integrated support systems." COVID-19 is affecting people's social connectedness, their trust in people and institutions, their jobs and incomes, as well as imposing a huge toll in terms of anxiety and worry.

Clap for Our Carers British social movement

Clap for Our Carers, also known as Clap for Carers, Clap for the NHS, Clap for Key Workers or Clap for Heroes, is a social movement created as a gesture of appreciation for the workers of the United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) and other key workers during the global pandemic of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which spread to the United Kingdom in January 2020.

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Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on domestic violence Aspect of viral outbreak

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic many countries have reported an increase in domestic violence and intimate partner violence. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, noting the "horrifying global surge", has called for a domestic violence "ceasefire".

Timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom (January–June 2020) Daily UK events related to the 2020 pandemic

The following is a timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom from January 2020 to July 2020. There are significant differences in the legislation and the reporting between the countries of the UK: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales. The numbers of cases and deaths are reported on a government Web site updated daily during the pandemic. The UK-wide COVID Symptom Study based on surveys of four million participants, endorsed by authorities in Scotland and Wales, run by health science company ZOE, and analysed by King's College London researchers, publishes daily estimates of the number of new and total current COVID-19 infections in UK regions, without restriction to only laboratory-confirmed cases.

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children Overview of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children

A systematic review notes that children with COVID-19 have milder effects and better prognoses than adults. However, children are susceptible to multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a rare but life-threatening systemic illness involving persistent fever and extreme inflammation following exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The following is a timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland during 2020. There are significant differences in the legislation and the reporting between the countries of the UK: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

The following is a timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in England from January 2020 to June 2020. There are significant differences in the legislation and the reporting between the countries of the UK: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

The following is a timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in England from July 2020 to December 2020. There are significant differences in the legislation and the reporting between the countries of the UK: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

References

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