What Lessons Can the Child Welfare System Take from the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Font, Sarah A. Bartholet, Elizabeth. Bruder-Mattson, Bob J. Corrigan, Maura. Daley, Mark. Dwyer, JAmes G. McKay, Greg. Medefind, Jedd. Putnam-Hornstein, Emily. Ramierz, Thea. Riley, Naomi Schaefer. Bevan, Cassie Statuto. Walter, John.
Published: January 2021
American Enterprise Institute
1150 Seventeenth Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn greater attention to the plight of abused and neglected children. Maltreatment incidence is likely on the rise, given the combination of social isolation, increased economic precarity, and heightened caregiving burden for children who would typically be in school or day care. Yet, fewer such incidents are referred to state child welfare systems (CWS), and core CWS activities are delayed, canceled, or moved to a virtual format in some areas. Even as vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 allow for a return to normal, CWS remains at a crossroads. Growing calls from activists to abolish the system entirely and claims of systemic bias and overreach from within the US Children’s Bureau necessitate a crucial look at CWS’s effectiveness. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought long-standing CWS problems to the forefront while also identifying pragmatic opportunities for system improvement. (Author abstract)
COVID-19; DISASTER RESPONSE; CHILD ABUSE REPORTING; PERMANENCY PLANNING; FOSTER CARE; KINSHIP CARE; REMOTE VISITATION; COMMUNITY AGENCIES; DATA COLLECTION; GOVERNMENT ROLE; CHILD WELFARE SERVICES