Personally, until July 17, we did not have a foster care or respite care placement since February 2020 before the pandemic began and social restrictions were enforced in Minnesota. This is the longest our family has gone without a placement in ten years. This concerns me because I know there are child abuse and child neglect cases that are going unreported because of the shutdowns of schools, kids not in daycare, and people socially isolating themselves and their children. People just aren’t seeing it.
On July 17, it was very different picking up a baby from the hospital. Safety measures were in place, and I was in and out with the baby in less than ten minutes time. Thankfully, I spoke with a nurse ahead of time and got most of my questions answered before going to retrieve the baby. I worked with the social workers through FaceTime and met with prospective family members, who were willing to care for this child, over the phone and through online video chats. I also initiated a video visit with the baby’s parents. At the initial hearing, the parents and judge were the only people allowed in the courtroom, with all safety measures in place. The workers and attorneys would enter the courtroom through video services. It’s all so strange. In pre-Covid days, all involved would attend the hearing, and that baby would have an in-person visit with his parents, most likely within a day or two of the court date. How does one attach to a baby through video? You can’t hold a baby or feed a baby this way. That seems to me to be the only way attachment and bonding will occur. What damaging effects will this have on the child? I’m not sure where the case will go and if in-person visits will take place because I moved the child to a family member one week after placement.
I’m sure the county and all involved will do the best they can in meeting the needs of children placed and their parents, but it is not the same as in pre-Covid days.
I’m certain there are children out there who are getting unnoticed because of this pandemic, and I am praying that these children are not too damaged and will eventually get noticed and get the proper care they deserve.
We are open to caring for children needing homes and will do the best we can to keep them safe and work on reunifying them with their parents and/or family members.
I’m grateful for the measures the foster care system is taking to keep everyone involved safe. I’m sure they are doing the best they can during this unprecedented time.
The article below shares some changes in the foster care system during this pandemic.