America’s child welfare system was already failing. The pandemic could weaken it further.

Roxanna Asgarian - Vox

"Families and children involved with the child welfare system have begun to experience disruptions," says this article from Vox. "Courts are closing, cases are delayed, and in-person contact with social workers is severely limited. As a result, vulnerable children who are already experiencing great instability are being further destabilized."

"Advocates and attorneys are worried about kids at every stage in the child welfare system," the article continues. "Because of the calamitous economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, people in poverty — which make up the vast majority of families involved with the child welfare system, and who may have held it together precariously before this — are suddenly unable to pay for rent, bills, or food, or find child care for their children. These are typical reasons that a state agency might get involved with a family and make a finding of neglect."

Furthermore, "there’s also the approximately 440,000 children (according to 2017 federal data) already in foster care around the country, many of whom had been moved from placement to placement before the crisis. Many of them are also currently housed with older foster parents who are at greater risk of serious complications from Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. According to the 2017 data, about 55,000 of those children are placed in institutional settings or group homes, places that are more susceptible to the spread of disease."

The article explores the "increased stress on an already failing system" that the COVID-19 crisis brings and the impacts on children, families, social workers and the system overall.