Even in these uncertain times, Arms Wide Adoption Services is committed to supporting children and families through the foster care, adoption processes and beyond. We are learning new ways to serve our families remotely, but effectively and compassionately. We wanted to address the impact COVID-19 has had on our organization. In addition, we wanted to share with you how we have adapted our programs. All so we can continue serving children and families in need.
You may be wondering, how has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the children and families we serve? Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption has outlined many ways, which we will outline here:
- It is in times of crisis children become most vulnerable. Research indicates the presence of stressful life events increases the likelihood of children abuse. Limited resources, loss of income or job, and displacement are all factors which can contribute to child abuse.
- Due to extensive trauma and the ever-present stress it causes, children who are in foster care often have a higher rate of acute health conditions.
- Youth across our community who are living in institutional care settings may be at an increased risk of becoming infected. With mandated stay-at-home orders, they may be separated from their communities longer which can lead to enhanced social isolation and psychological effects.
- As foster families increasingly manage sickness and unemployment, many children in foster care may have to move to another family. Again.
- Students who have found a way to be in college, even without the support of a permanent family, may now have nowhere to go, as campuses shut down and move to virtual education.
- As some court systems suspend non-emergency and non-essential hearings, there will likely be delays in adoptive placements and finalizations. This would delay government reimbursement support to our organization. We rely on government support to continue offering services to families free of charge.
The safety of the children, families, and communities we serve continues to be our number one priority. That is why we have adapted many of our current programs to continuing supporting our families:
- Caseworkers and support staff will be available by phone around-the-clock to support families enrolled in our foster care, adoption, post adoption, and post permanency programs.
- Families do not have to wait to start the process to foster or adopt a child in need – especially when our community is facing a capacity crisis. Although we typically hold Information Meetings and trainings in person at our office, we are offering virtual or one-on-one meetings and trainings to ensure the safety of our families and children.
- Additional virtual contact and support to families can include: Intakes, psychology or psychiatric evaluation and testing, families and individual coaching or counseling, crisis counseling (including creating plans for families for conflict resolution in a crisis), case management, mentoring, support groups, training, other virtual discussion groups, and home visits.
Over the past weeks, Arms Wide Adoption Services has been working diligently to adapt to this ever-changing situation. We are doing everything in our power to support the children and families we serve and connect them to resources and programs.
How You Can Help
- We can’t do this alone – especially with likely delays in government support. If you are able to give, please consider making a special gift to support Arms Wide Adoption Services programs during this public health crisis.
- With children out of school, many families are using alternative measures of child care. Kids may be staying with a neighbor, family friend, or a relative. Unfortunately, this is where we see higher incidents of abuse. Protecting children is an adult’s responsibility, so take this time to stay informed. If leaving your child(ren) with a new caretaker, be sure to talk to them about inappropriate touch and behavior.
- On that same thread, be an observant neighbor and community member. More children are home with their families for longer, extended times than usual. Be aware of the warning signs, and report abuse when you see it. This is even timelier as we approach April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Now, more than ever, we rely on your support, patience, and grace. Together, we can navigate these unprecedented times of COVID-19 and ensure no children are left behind during this crisis. Thank you for being part of our mission to transform the lives of children in need of safe and nurturing permanent families.