When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in the spring of 2020, staff of Every Child, Inc. knew that they needed to find a way to support foster (resource) families caring for children who were staying at home and not going to school. Utilizing technology and good old-fashioned ingenuity to enhance and continue services during this time, the foster care teams implemented a variety of virtual supports. Sessions designed to help children work through barriers to permanency are being held via Zoom across multiple homes so that siblings can interact and receive the benefits of the service together. These sessions, called child prep, also involve helping children create a life book that details their life up to now and helps them look forward to the future. Some caseworkers are putting together child prep craft packets, dropping them off and then meeting with the children online to do the projects together.
One foster family has used virtual visits to help establish a better relationship with the child’s birth mother, who, before the pandemic, had not been in contact. As she has come to accept the need for help with her child, virtual visits have allowed the foster and birth families to have discussions about maintaining the relationship and keeping lines of communication open. They’ve worked together to change visitation days so that the birth parent can visit on holidays and even on the child’s birthday. The caseworker believes this wouldn’t have happened without virtual visits.
Foster care caseworkers each chose families for whom they created Easter magic. They filled and hid Easter eggs in the foster families’ front yards so that the children could wake up to find them and experience some joy during this difficult time.
For Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, children in foster care (and their foster siblings) were given the opportunity to make gifts for both their foster and birth parents. The gifts were then sent to the birth families. The children and all the parents loved it!