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You don’t need me to tell you that we are living in unbelievable times. The world is, in many ways, at a stand-still while people are strongly encouraged and even mandated in some places to stay home in order to flatten the curve of the spread of COVID-19. While this time of social distancing is affecting every sector of our world, for children in foster care and their parents, this season of quarantine means the suspension of in-person visitation, which is an integral part of reunification efforts. In some areas, visits are suspended altogether at the moment, but in most places, from what I can tell, families are now having all of their visits virtually.
I’ve received questions from a number of foster parents who are trying for figure out how to handle virtual visits. Virtual visits place a greater responsibility on foster parents. Whereas in normal circumstances the foster parent is not involved with family visits, under current circumstances, foster parents have to be very involved. One caregiver reported to me that instead of weekend visits that happen for several hours and give the foster parents a break, their kids now have hour-long visits every weeknight that have to be managed by the foster parents. For that family, at least, these visits are disruptive for everyone involved—the foster parents, the children who have to drop what they’re doing each evening and get on the phone, and for the parents of the children, who find it challenging to maintain the schedule.
I thought it might be helpful to hear from a few foster parents who are currently managing virtual visits for their foster youth and their parents, so in this episode you’ll be hearing from five foster parents in California, Oregon, Indiana, Virginia, and Maine. I asked them to tell me a bit about what visits looked like before the time of the virus, and how they look now.
This episode features the voices of foster parents, but I would also love to hear from — and give my platform to — parents whose children are in foster care, who are trying to stay connected with their kids now that many, if not all, states have banned in-person visits. If you or someone you know are a parent whose child is in foster care, and you would like to share about your experiences on this podcast, please contact me.
Be sure to subscribe to A Fostered Life podcast so you don’t miss a single episode. For more information and resources for foster parents, please visit afosteredlife.com, where you’ll find blog posts, recommended reading, youtube videos, and social media links all designed to help foster parents feel more equipped for their foster care journey.
It’s my prayer that no foster parent ever feels like they’re going at it alone. If you’re a foster parent who is feeling like you’re out there on your own, consider joining The Flourishig Foster Parent, a community designed to encourage, equip and connect foster parents.
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Thanks for listening and thanks for caring about foster care.