Recent news surrounding the pandemic has focused on the uncertain transition into the new school year. Not only is COVID-19 changing education, but it is also affecting youth in the child welfare system in many unique ways. Arizona’s Children Association (AzCA), among other organizations, have had to become more innovative in how we address the newly emerging needs for families who continue to be affected by the pandemic.
For those who live in group homes and foster homes, their access to family visitation may be limited. In most cases, children who already have limited
AzCA has had to change how we provide services for our youth and families. Upon entering the lockdown phase of the pandemic, AzCA began providing services virtually – though there were cases which required in-person appointments. Most of our children in foster care and group homes were lucky to have easy access to computers so that they could continue to receive the necessary services.
Along with changing methods of service delivery, AzCA has also allocated much-needed resources through generous donors. Some goods included hygiene products, new clothing, books, food, and other school supplies for the new school year. Several donors have stepped forward to donate masks that they either purchased, or made themselves. The employees at AzCA are always excited to see new items coming in so they can continue to support the children and help meet their needs. Group homes, foster homes, and biological homes have especially benefited from the donations of diapers, toilet paper, and soaps when supplies in stores were depleted and became increasingly sparse.
Not only are children and families affected by the lack of goods, but the pandemic has also had a significant effect on available foster homes. Unfortunately, AzCA has experienced a record number of closures in foster care licenses due to fears of exposure and schooling in the coming months. This has led to a shortage in foster homes, in a child welfare system that is already struggling to keep up with the 14,000 children who are in out-of-home care. For those who continue to keep their foster care licenses and adoption certifications open, AzCA has maintained consistent virtual communication with the children and families, offering resources when necessary and following proper health procedures and practices. The safety of our staff, children and families remains a top priority.
On behalf of those we serve, we want to say thank you to everyone who contributed to our emergency relief fund or purchased items from our Amazon Wish List – your support has been incredibly impactful and has not gone unnoticed. There are many ways to continue to make a difference during this challenging time. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a foster parent, please contact us today!