How Covid 19 Continues to Challenge the Foster Care System

Dr. John DeGarmo
6 min readSep 3, 2020

The Coronavirus continues to upend foster care and child welfare, leaving foster care agencies and foster parents across the nation trying to find not only answers, but resources and support.

“We are lacking consistency, routine, and an overall feeling of stability and security. These kids have had their whole world changed, and now it is being shaken up again,” said Jo Larson, a Minnesota foster parent.

For many foster parents, the lack of supervision has been an especially challenging one. Many foster parents are employed full time, and work during the day, while the children placed in their home from foster care are either in school, or at day care. “Struggling with the fact that the kids are out of school but I still have to work. We need to find someone to keep them. When I get off work and return home, I try and teach them in a 2 hour period,” said foster parent Ashley Yeske. South Dakota foster parent Sheri Berg states that, “I work in healthcare so staying home with my kids from foster care right now is not an option.”

To be sure, these are challenges that many parents from traditional families are also facing. Yet, for foster parents, the challenges are deeper than that. One of the responsibilities that foster parents face is transporting the children in their home to visitations with their birth parents and biological family members. Often times, visitations take place at child welfare offices, while other times, visitations may occur at public places, such as parks, restaurants, churches, and other public venues. Visitations are important as they help to maintain the relationship between both child and adult. Along with this, many foster parents have very strong relationships with the birth parents and during visitations, trust is built and children can grow and develop in a healthy fashion, as a result. Kentucky State Governor Andy Beshar has limited these visits and investigations due to “imminent risk or high risk-only circumstances.” Child welfare workers in Kentucky have had to suspend monthly visits with foster care families, despite the fact that nearly 10,000 children are placed in the state’s foster care system.

“How do we get to a point where kids can safely return home and kids can visit with their parents? That’s really the…

Dr. John DeGarmo

Leading foster care expert and international empowerment speaker