Pandemic provides lessons for child welfare system

Scholars from the American Enterprise Institute partnered with experts in academia, state departments, and the law to outline some of the challenges that COVID-19 has wrought for child welfare systems, and the lessons to be gleaned from this era. The report notes that while the stressors of the pandemic have likely heightened child maltreatment incidence, state child welfare systems have received fewer reports than usual during the pandemic. With fewer opportunities for reporting via schools, and state departments delaying, canceling, and reconfiguring usual child welfare activities, the risks to children are especially high. The authors suggest finding ways to detect maltreatment outside of schools (note that many of these suggestions amount to mandating greater surveillance of poor and low income parents). Other suggestions focus on enhancing system logistics: deeming child welfare workers as essential so that they may continue timely work, allowing virtual court proceedings to avoid placement delays for children, strengthening foster parent recruitment efforts, and better integrating child welfare systems with community agencies that can serve to meet families’ other needs. #covid-19