Saturday, March 28, 2020

How taking children from their families increases the risk they’ll catch COVID-19

On top of all the other harm done to children when they’re torn needlessly from everyone they know and love – the terrible outcomes for foster children, the high rate of abuse in foster care itself, and so on – now there’s a new threat.  Consider how taking away a child can increase the risk of that child contracting the coronavirus.  Look at the process of removal and placement step-by-step:

Step 1: The child may well physically resist removal – that means the ultimate in close contact with the strangers who have come to the door to take her or him away.

­Step 2: The child is forced into the car of caseworkers or police officers who may have transported any number of others.

Step 3: The child waits at an office while a foster home is found.

Step 4: If no foster home is found, the child is put back into a car and transported to the worst option of all – one of those godawful parking place shelters, where they will be thrown in with scores of other children and youth.  And every time the shift changes at the shelters – or at other institutions – the children are exposed to another set of strangers.

Step 5: When a foster home is found, it’s another car ride to another set of strangers.

And to top it off, if courts are continuing to hold hearings to take children away, but refusing to hold hearings to send them home, all those foster homes and shelters are likely to get more crowded.

So now there is one more reason to stop and think twice – then think again – before taking children from their parents. 

There’s more on all this in my column in Youth TodayChild Welfare’s Response to COVID-19 is Sickening.