Fostering Families Today and the National Foster Parent Association (NFPA) hosted a webinar on Thursday, March 4, to discuss recent findings from a survey they conducted. This survey was created to discover how foster families are coping through the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 300 foster parents in the U.S. were surveyed during January and February 2021, with ten months of the pandemic behind them. The survey was distributed through Fostering Families Today social media, email newsletters, and partnering child welfare agencies. This survey consisted of 12 questions that measured caregiving volume and experience, challenges, and personal reflections.
General findings were as follows:
- The majority of foster parents or children in care had not tested positive for the coronavirus over the course of the pandemic
- 51.2% of foster families conducted visits with bio families virtually, 25.8% conducted visits in person, and 23% evenly split between both
- The biggest challenge for foster families this year has been overseeing education for children, followed by meeting visitation requirements, lack of daycare, the behavior of the child, and mental health of the child
- Mental health struggles are the most reported ways that foster parents have personally been impacted by the pandemic, followed by loss of employment, physical health, and loss of family members from COVID-19
Panelists on the webinar included Irene Clements, Executive Director of NFPA, and two foster parent couples with current children in their care. Panelists discussed their experiences this year and shared difficulties they have encountered while helping children with school, not being able to take immunocompromised children to daycare, and coping with everyday mental health struggles. Foster families suggested taking regular walks, developing healthy habits and routines, and giving grace for themselves and children in the home as we are all experiencing firsts and coping in different ways.
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Find more information on the National Foster Parent Association here.