July 7, 2020

How Will Foster Care Look After COVID

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How will foster care look after COVID? This is a question that many within the foster care community are mulling over. Since we have started quarantine the drop in reports of child abuse and neglect have caused many to fear. Will the child welfare system in the U.S. be able to support an influx of new cases? How can we prepare for this shift?

Turning to Technology for Answers

One solution states like Illinois and Tennesse have found is moving foster license training online. The current standard for foster licensing requires potential candidates to meet in groups for training that lasts between 20-30. Obviously, this is nearly impossible in the current COVID state. But it is noteworthy to point out how an online accreditation/online training program may open the door for more individuals and families to enter the system as foster parents.

Examples of Online Success

The commitment to in-person scheduled training deters many qualified people. The foster agency, Children of Arkansas Loved for a Lifetime, switched over to an online curriculum for licensing foster families. Since the change, they have more than doubled their monthly training participates. Prior to the online training, they averaged 75 participants and have increased to 176.

States like Virginia and Florida have partnered with a Family-Match, a nonprofit that uses online personality profiles to match foster families to children in care. The online data makes it easier for social workers and families to mitigate expectations.

Hopes for Foster Care After COVID

The glimmer of hope lies in how the foster care community can adopt technology to improve the system. COVID has brought to light many of the shortfalls within foster care and now is time to make powerful change. Change that can unite people in support of children in care. Technology enhances so many systems currently, offering synchronous online classes and platforms like Family-Match, seem like a great start.

For those interested in helping kids in care during COVID, check out our emergency resources here.

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