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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

UNICEF Innocenti's curated library of COVID-19 + Children research

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Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on stress and access to services for licensed and kinship caregivers and youth in foster care

AUTHOR(S)
Sarah J. Beal; Katie Nause; Mary V. Greiner

Published: July 2022   Journal: Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal
Children in foster care in the United States face unique challenges related to access to health and education services. With the COVID-19 pandemic, many of those services were temporarily disrupted, adding burden to an already strained system. This observational study describes the experiences of licensed and kinship caregivers (N = 186) during the peak of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and as restrictions to services were lifted, to understand the overall impact of COVID-19 on this already vulnerable population. Purposive sampling methods were used, where caregivers known to have received placement of children prior to, during, and following COVID-19 stay-at-home orders were identified and recruited to complete a 45-minute phone-administered survey assessing stress, risks for contracting COVID-19, strain resulting from COVID-19, and access to services for children in foster care in their care across five domains: healthcare, mental health, education, child welfare, and family visitation. Differences by caregiver type (licensed, kinship) and timing in the pandemic were examined.
Working and caring for a disabled adopted child during a pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Claudia Sellmaier; JaeRan Kim

Published: July 2022   Journal: Child & Family Social Work
Integrating work and family demands can be challenging for families caring for a child with one or more disabilities. The pandemic and its changes to work, schooling and service delivery potentially added to these challenges. This exploratory mixed methods study sought to understand how the pandemic affected adoptive parents' work–life fit and service use. A total of 200 participants responded to survey questions about parenting an adopted child with a disability prior to, and after, the onset of Covid-19. More than half of the parents (59.2%) reported that it was somewhat to very difficult to integrate both work and family demands. Parents with greater access to workplace flexibility and supportive supervisors had significantly less difficulties combining work and family. Families who reported more problems with accessing mental health services, special education and respite care reported significantly more challenges with work–family fit. Parents reported increased stress due to the pandemic changes, but many also shared positive changes such as more time for family. Online services were experienced as effective for some children and reduced time spent driving to appointments. Recommendations for workplace and social service practice and policy supporting adoptive parents of children with disabilities are discussed.
An exploratory study of the impact of COVID‐19 on foster parenting

AUTHOR(S)
Ryan Hanlon; JaeRan Kim; Cossette Woo (et al.)

Published: May 2022   Journal: Child & Family Social Work
As the COVID-19 virus began to spread in the United States of America, states' child welfare administrators and policymakers responded differently. Some states implemented more restrictive policies, some less or did not require many restrictions (i.e., stay at home orders or masking in public spaces). Video-based online focus groups with foster parents in four states utilized a consensual qualitative approach to identify themes relating to foster parenting during COVID-19 and understand how policies related to COVID-19 restrictions affected their caregiving decisions. Themes that emerged included pathways to foster parenting pre-pandemic, the impact of COVID-19 on both foster parents, children in care, and foster parents' ability to understand the broader importance of their caregiving. While participants in all of the states reported similar experiences relating to the need for resources and support and the challenge of managing both work and remote education for their children, those in states with restrictive policies were more likely to report pandemic-specific concerns including a lack of agency communication or case progress, the mental health toll on foster children in their care and their concerns about accepting new placements. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.
Perceived impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on the family context of foster and non-foster families

AUTHOR(S)
Lucía González-Pasarín; Antonio Urbano-Contreras; Isabel M. Bernedo (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: Journal of Child and Family Studies
The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown have had a far-reaching impact across all levels of society. In Spain, severe restrictions were placed on people’s mobility, and leaving the home was only possible under special circumstances. This study analyzes the impact of lockdown on the family context of foster and non-foster families, focusing particularly on their levels of cohesion, adaptability, and perceived stress. It also examines a series of variables that may have influenced foster families’ perceptions of their family context during lockdown. Data were gathered through an online survey that was completed by 347 individuals corresponding to 100 foster families and 247 non-foster families from different regions of Spain. Analyses were descriptive and exploratory in nature.
Foster care during the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative analysis of caregiver and professional experiences

AUTHOR(S)
Adrienne Whitt-Woosley; Ginny Sprang; Jessica Eslinger

Published: December 2021   Journal: Child Abuse & Neglect

Research is needed to facilitate better understanding of how different groups have been impacted by COVID-19, especially those in already strained service systems such as foster care. These inquiries will support further response, recovery and preparedness efforts. This qualitative study addressed how professionals and caregivers in foster care described being affected by COVID-19 in order to support future research and planning for foster care systems in this pandemic context. A sample of foster parents and foster care professionals (N = 357) from a mostly rural, southeastern state in the U.S. participated in the study.

Impact of COVID-19 among young people currently and formerly in foster care

AUTHOR(S)
Rachel Rosenberg; Sunny Sun; Alaina Flannigan (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: Child Abuse & Neglect

COVID-19 continues to have devastating impacts across the United States, causing high levels of unemployment and disconnection from work and school. Furthermore, some communities are at higher risk for adverse outcomes due to the pandemic, including transition age foster youth. Transition age foster youth report negative impacts on their employment, educational attainment, ability to meet basic needs, and their connection to work and school. The current study examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on key young adult outcomes including education, employment, financial well-being, and disconnection from work and school.


The impact of COVID-19 on child welfare-involved families: implications for parent–child reunification and child welfare professionals

AUTHOR(S)
Abbie E. Goldberg; David Brodzinsky; Jacqueline Singer (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Developmental Child Welfare
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted children and parents involved in the child welfare system and the professionals working with these families. Using survey data collected August–September of 2020, this mixed-methods study examined the perspectives of 196 child welfare-involved professionals (77 attorneys, 99 caseworkers, and 20 therapists) in the United States about the impact of COVID-19 on parents of origin, children, foster parents, and child welfare professionals. Particular attention was paid to the implications of COVID-19 and associated challenges for parent–child contact and reunification. With respect to professional stresses, more than half of participants worried about their own personal safety and health amidst COVID-19, and more than three-quarters expressed concerns about the safety and well-being of child welfare-involved families.
Preliminary evaluation of a multicomponent youth development program for siblings separated by foster care: pandemic related impacts to service delivery and youth well-being

AUTHOR(S)
Jeffrey Waid; Cynthia Dantas

Published: August 2021   Journal: Journal of Public Child Welfare
A preliminary evaluation of a multicomponent youth development program for siblings in foster care was conducted prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pretest posttest measures of youth well-being were collected from sixteen youth, caregivers, and caseworkers over a six-month period. Caregivers reported increased internalizing and externalizing behaviors, sibling relationship difficulties, prosocial behavior, and resilience during the study period. Youth reported reduced school engagement, increased resilience, and prosocial behavior. In-person sibling programming was associated with increased prosocial behavior. Virtual sibling programming was associated with lower hyperactivity, increased prosocial behavior, and increased emotional problems. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
Caring for children in foster and kinship care during a pandemic: lessons learned and recommendations

AUTHOR(S)
Hilda Loria; Jill McLeigh; Kristin Wolfe (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Journal of Public Child Welfare
Through qualitative feedback from professionals in healthcare, mental health, and child welfare, this study explored the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and well-being of children in the child welfare system. Positive outcomes and challenges related to the care of children in foster or kinship care in Texas during the COVID-19 pandemic are described. Themes identified included disparities in the child welfare system; utilization of telehealth; cross-sector communication and collaboration; safety considerations; and placement stability and support. The article concludes with recommendations in each of these areas for ensuring the health and well-being of children in foster and kinship care during a pandemic.
Using social media Reddit data to examine Foster Families' concerns and needs during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Joyce Y. Lee; Olivia D. Chang; Tawfiq Ammari

Published: August 2021   Journal: Child Abuse & Neglect

COVID-19 is likely to have negatively impacted foster families but few data sources are available to confirm this. The current study used Reddit social media data to examine how foster families are faring in the pandemic. Discussion topics were identified and examined for changes before and after COVID-19. Comments were collected from three Reddit online discussion boards dedicated to foster families (N = 11,830).

Child maltreatment in the time of COVID-19: changes in the Florida foster care system surrounding the COVID-19 safer-at-home order

AUTHOR(S)
Erica D. Musser; Cameron Riopelle; Robert Latham

Published: January 2021   Journal: Child Abuse & Neglect

Media outlets have suggested that rates of child maltreatment may increase during the global COVID-19 pandemic. The few empirical studies that have examined pandemic related changes in rates of child maltreatment have relied predominantly on reports of suspected maltreatment. This study examines rates of documented, substantiated child maltreatment resulting in foster care placement, as well as demographic correlates of child maltreatment within the foster care system, before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Experiences of young adults with a history of foster care during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Saralyn C. Ruff; Deanna Linville

Published: January 2021   Journal: Children and Youth Services Review
This study assessed the needs, concerns, and strengths of young adults (ages 18–26), previously placed in foster care, in response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). One hundred and twenty-seven participants completed the survey in May and June, offering a preliminary description of the impact of Shelter in Place (SIP) due to COVID-19 on their well-being. The mixed-methods, cross-sectional survey assessed participants’ perspectives regarding (1) changes in physical, financial, professional, social, relational, and psychological levels of concern and (2) the general impact of SIP due to COVID-19, as well as the unique impact as a current or former foster youth.
Child vulnerabilities and family-based childcare systems: Covid-19 challenges of foster care and adoption in India

AUTHOR(S)
Ratna Verma; Rinku Verma

Published: December 2020   Journal: Institutionalised Children Explorations and Beyond
This article has been developed based on a systematic review of research studies conducted in the last 10 years on family-based childcare systems and a rapid review of research and assessments conducted in 2020 to explore the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on adoption and foster care in India. The study explains child vulnerabilities with a focus on challenges to adoption and foster care before and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings depict that India is home to a large number of vulnerable children who have been living with hardships, and the COVID-19 pandemic has put them at a higher risk of adversity
Restructuring institutional care: challenges and coping measures for children and caregivers in post-COVID-19 era

AUTHOR(S)
Sudeshna Roy

Published: December 2020   Journal: Institutionalised Children Explorations and Beyond

The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has rattled the world and has severely compromised not only the public health system but has decelerated the global economy. In this backdrop, the article explores the dynamics of the institutional care of the out-of-home care (OHC) children, adolescents and children who are residing in alternative care homes, childcare institutes (CCIs), foster homes and who are in conflict with law like refugees or in juvenile correctional centres. The article attempts to highlight the risk factors and systematic barriers that CCIs and associated functionaries have been confronting in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide. It would also catalogue the remedial, preventive and protective initiatives undertaken as best practices. 


Normalcy for children in foster care in the time of coronavirus

AUTHOR(S)
Mary Elizabeth Collins; Sarah Baldiga

Published: November 2020   Journal: Journal of Children's Services
This paper aims to describe how a sense of normalcy for young people in foster care can be critical to their well-being. This paper reports on policy and practice efforts in the USA to promote normalcy for youth in care. The authors review policy that promotes normalcy and report on one organization's efforts to support these goals.
Cite this research | Vol.: 15 | Issue: 4 | No. of pages: 215-219 | Language: English | Topics: Health, Child Protection | Tags: child welfare, COVID-19 response, foster care, foster children | Countries: United States
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