COVID-19: Child Welfare Resources

8/7/2020

Image of Corona Virus and the word Resources in a box

Below are four resource guides to help state legislators address the negative impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on children, families and caseworkers involved with the child welfare system. The resource guides address the following topics: COVID-19 and Child Welfare Caseworkers, COVID-19 and Congregate Care Facilities, COVID-19 and Foster and Kinship Caregivers, COVID-19 and Older Youth in the Child Welfare System. NCSL staff will update this information every Friday if new information is available, so check back often. For information on other legislation related to COVID-19 visit NCSL's State Action on Coronavirus Database. NCSL is hosting a series of virtual meetings covering these topics

COVID-19 and Child Welfare Caseworkers | A Resource Guide for State Legislators

Issue Summary: Child welfare caseworkers are first responders, ensuring the safety, stability, and well-being of vulnerable children and families. This already challenging job is now further complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. With many jurisdictions implementing social distancing mandates, the operating environment for child welfare caseworkers has shifted.

The child welfare workforce is now investigating maltreatment, providing in-home services, responding to substance abuse crises and ensuring that visitation and reunification services are coordinated — all while minimizing the spread of COVID-19. Some jurisdictions do not have adequate gloves, masks or hand sanitizer to keep caseworkers safe during investigations and home visits.

Guidance for Legislators: During this national crisis, child welfare agencies must balance their mission to protect children from abuse and neglect with their duty to protect their workforce. Legislators can ensure they know the practice standards for their jurisdictions, establish priorities for state government through policy and funding decisions and working collaboratively with their child welfare leaders to ensure positive outcomes for children and families.

Summary of State and Federal Activity: The chart below contains federal guidance, directives and opportunities, as well as examples of how states are addressing COVID-19’s impact on child welfare caseworkers. As of August 7th, NCSL has identified Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee and Utah as the only states that have introduced legislation directly addressing these issues. NCSL staff will update this information every Friday, so check back often.

State Examples
Topics Sources Description
Funding

Alaska,

Arkansas

Florida

Kentucky,

Missouri,

North Carolina,

Tennessee,

Utah

Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee and Utah have included pandemic relief in their appropriation bills. This includes accepting the federal CARES act, increasing funding for child welfare agencies and other social services.

Funding Arizona Arizona Complete Health has awarded 22 nonprofit organizations and health-care providers across the state COVID-19 relief grants ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 each, for a total of $285,000. Award recipients include rural community hospitals, peer and family run organizations, social service organizations, child welfare nonprofits, suicide prevention programs and others that offer hope and help to Arizonans.

Background Checks,

Emergency placements,

Workforce

California Governor's Office June 19th, 2020 - The governor signed an executive order extending a number of waivers to allow for flexibility in the emergency placement of foster youth and ensure that foster youth have access to critical programs and technology by verifying foster care status for foster youth and wards of the juvenile court whose cases are pending; permit In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program caseworkers to continue their work caring for older adults and individuals with disabilities; and allow the California Department of Justice to develop procedures to perform name-based background checks to ensure there is no delay processing employment for critical sectors, such as health care services and care and support for vulnerable populations, including developmentally disabled persons.

Safety

Child Welfare Information Gateway

State child welfare agency website responses to COVID-19.

Workforce,

Substance use disorders,

Visitation, Reunification

The Chronicle of Social Change

As the coronavirus continues to spread, the Chronicle of Social Change solicited information from stakeholders in the field of child welfare, including youth, parents, foster and adoptive parents, caseworkers, probation officers, judges and others about how the spread of coronavirus is affecting those systems’ ability to function. The responses are captured in this article, Coronavirus: What Child Welfare Systems Need to Think About.

Childcare

Illinois Governor's Office

Effective April 1st, all essential workers in health care, human services, essential government services, and essential infrastructure now qualify for the state's Child Care Assistance Program. The state will cover most of the cost of care provided by emergency child care centers and homes.

Childcare

Michigan Governor's Office

 

April 29, 2020 – The Governor announced a $130 million investment to create the Child Care Relief Fund to provide grants for child care providers. Providers must reduce their weekly rates for families by 10 percent, and provide care for the children of essential workers.

Workforce

National Governor’s Association

Information and links to state executive orders that list state child welfare and child protection agencies as essential government functions that are to remain in operation during the current coronavirus pandemic. States include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut (services needed to ensure the continuing operation of government agencies and the provision of goods, services or functions necessary for the health, safety and welfare of the public), Delaware (social assistance), District of Columbia, Guam (residential facilities and shelters for children), Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New York (human services), North Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Courts

National Center for State Courts

State court activities. Includes a webinar on how to establish remote hearings in response to COVID-19.

Courts

National Council of Family and Juvenile Court Judges

Various state dependency and juvenile court responses to COVID-19.

Workforce

New Jersey Legislature

NJ S 2374 - Concerns family leave benefits; expands the definition of family leave and family temporary disability leave to include an event of a state of emergency declared by the Governor and an epidemic of a communicable disease, including coronavirus disease.

Workforce

New York Legislature

NY S 7506 - Expands the definition of family leave and family temporary disability leave to include an event of a state of emergency declared by the Governor and an epidemic of a communicable disease, including coronavirus disease. Specifically mentions foster children in the definition.

Background checks, Visitation

North Carolina Legislature

NC HB 1037 – Waives certain background check and visitation requirements in accordance with federal recommendations.

Workforce

Pennsylvania Legislature

PA H 360 – Extends the deadline for recertification for employees having contact with children, adoptive and foster parents.

Workforce,

Foster care providers

Tennessee Department of Children Services

The Tennessee Department of Children Services (DCS) created a COVID-19 webpage that provides information specific to DCS staff, foster parents and private providers.

Workforce,

In-home services,

Visitation

Utah Department of Child and Family Services

The Utah Department of Child and Family Services developed a COVID-19 Reference Guide for their workforce in conducting child protection services. 

Visitation

Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families

For child welfare visitation, DCYF staff are strongly encouraged to conduct a simple assessment prior to making home visits or having visits to the offices. The department also provided guidance for home visiting programs. 

Federal Resources
Topics Sources Description
Caseworker Protection Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services This letter to child welfare leaders from Associate Commissioner Milner urged child welfare leaders to work with emergency management and public health leaders in their respective states to have child welfare workers and service providers classified as Level 1 emergency responders so that they may more easily obtain PPE for required contact with vulnerable children in their state.
Funding Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Children's Bureau continues to release program instructions for how states can address the impact of COVID-19 on their child welfare systems:

June 8th, 2020 - provides information on the allowable use of the funding and actions states, territories and tribes must take to report on planned and actual use of CARE funds.

Caseworker Protection Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services The Children's Bureau and CDC hosted a webinar on how child welfare workers can maintain safety when engaged in in-person interaction with families.
Caseworker Protection Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services The April 17, 2020 letter to governors from HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan, aims to increase child welfare worker and service provider access to personal protective equipment (PPE) by having them classified as Level 1 emergency responders. In addition, Associate Commissioner Jerry Milner provided guidance to child welfare leaders for how they should go about securing PPE.
Workforce

Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

This letter to child welfare leaders summarizes allowable practice adjustments during this pandemic.

 

Highlights:

 

Monthly caseworker visits can be conducted by videoconference.

 

States are permitted to adjust Performance Improvement Plans (PIP), extend PIP deadlines if they make a request 60 days prior to the initial deadline. ACF will reschedule upcoming Title IV-E eligibility reviews.

 

States are required to adhere to their own protocols and timelines for contact, safety and risk assessments, and other investigation procedures.

 

Delays in conducting periodic reviews and permanency hearings will not adversely affect a child’s eligibility for Title IV-E services.

Workforce,

Foster Care Providers,

Safety

Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Children's Bureau has COVID-19 resources for children involved in the child welfare system, foster care providers and the child welfare workforce.

Background Checks,

Visitation

Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Associate Commissioner Jerry Milner wrote to child welfare leaders relaxing fingerprint-based criminal background check requirements. Available name-based criminal background checks must still be conducted, but fingerprint-based checks can be done as soon as safely possible. The Children’s Bureau is also allowing videoconferencing in place of some in-person caseworker visits.

Courts

Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Associate Commissioner wrote state judicial leaders to work with court improvement programs to support video conferencing while continuing to provide required oversight.

Workforce

Child Welfare League of America

The Child Welfare League of America created a webpage that shares tips, policies protocols, and resources for the field of child welfare professionals and parents in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Workforce,

Health Care,

Safety,

Family support,

Food Programs

Federal legislation

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides paid leave to employees, establishes free COVID-19 testing, offers protections for public health workers, and provides expanded food assistance and unemployment benefits for children and families. The Children's Bureau has provided an information memorandum detailing how the new legislation may impact child welfare agencies.

  Federal legislation July 7th, 2020 - U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) introduced the Child Welfare Emergency Assistance Act, legislation to provide flexible, emergency aid for child welfare programs working to support young people and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Senators' legislation seeks to ensure child welfare agencies and organizations are equipped with resources to continue protecting and supporting families during this public health crisis.
Workforce

National Association of Social Workers

The National Association of Social Workers provides guidance for social workers who are concerned about their well-being during the COVID-19 crisis.

COVID-19 and Congregate Care Facilities | A Resource Guide for State Legislators

Issue Summary: The health of children and youth in congregate care settings is among the many challenges child welfare systems are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In stark contrast to orders from state and local officials to avoid close contact with others, residents of congregate care facilities live in close proximity with each other.

Guidance for Legislators: In response to the evolving COVID-19 crisis, some states have released guidance and directives to ensure children in congregate care placements remain safe and healthy. As always, we recommend talking with your state child welfare agency about how you can support their mission.

Summary of State and Federal Activity: Below are examples of how states and the federal government are addressing COVID-19’s impact on congregate care in the child welfare system. As of July August 7th, NCSL has identified Vermont as the only state legislature to introduce or enact new legislation directly addressing these issues. NCSL staff will update this information every Friday if new information is available, so check back often.

State Resources
Topics Sources Description
Children and youth in foster care, congregate care Massachusetts Governor’s Office April 16, 2020, Executive Order – allows the Department of Early Education and Care to implement emergency residential programs and placement agencies as necessary to provide isolation and quarantine to accommodate children and youth who have tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus and can’t stay in their current residential placement.

Safety

California Department of Social Services

The California Department of Social Services has released information and guidelines for children’s residential facilities, including hygiene practices and who to contact if a case of COVID-19 is suspected within a facility.

Health care

Illinois Governor’s Office

Illinois Executive Order 2020-10 specifies that, for purposes of the Executive Order, individuals may leave their residence to work for or obtain services at any Human Services Operations, including any provider funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, or Medicaid that is providing services to the public and including state-operated, institutional, or community-based settings providing human services to the public.

Safety,

Health care,

Visitation,

Facility guidance

Massachusetts Department of Public Health

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, along with other state agencies, has released guidance and directives for congregate care facilities to address visitation, staff, preventing the spread of COVID-19, and how to respond to outbreaks among residents.

Visitation

Michigan Governor’s Office

Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order effective until 5:00 p.m. April 5, 2020, requiring congregate care facilities to prohibit certain visitors and to institute policy specific to COVID-19.

Facility guidance,

Visitation

New York Governor’s Office

Governor Andrew Cuomo released guidance for residential centers under the Office of Children and Family Services specific to COVID-19 to screen visitors, staff and new residents.

Facility guidance,

Visitation

Washington Governor’s Office

Washington Executive Order 20-31 waives and suspends statutes and rules that require fingerprint-based background checks before a person may be approved to have unsupervised access to children during the COVID-19 pandemic, including foster and adoptive parents and group care staff.

Health care,

Facility guidance,

Safety,

Visitation

Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families

The Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families has released an update for foster care licensing, including group homes, advising facilities on staffing, healthcare, preventing the spread of COVID-19, and visitation.

Health care,

Facility guidance,

Safety,

Visitation

Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families released recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in congregate care facilities. The recommendations also address how to respond to outbreaks in congregate care facilities.

Facility guidance

Vermont Legislature

Vermont House Bill 742 (Enacted) During a declared state of emergency in Vermont, as a result of COVID-19, the Secretary of Human Services may waive or permit variances from foster care and residential program regulations.

 

Federal Resources
Topics Sources Description

Family support,

Safety

National Conference of State Legislatures

NCSL has released an overview of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act including the bill’s provisions for workers and public health.

Funding

Federal legislation

On March 19, 2020, the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth requested an increase in funding and increased flexibility in how states use the funds. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act was passed on March 27, 2020 and provides $6.3 billion overall to the Administration for Children and Families including $45 million in grants to states for child welfare services. See NCSL’s overview of the legislation. On April 27th, the Children's Bureau released a letter addressing the flexibility available to child welfare agencies. This includes increased foster care maintenance payment rates; modifying foster family home licensing standards; temporary absences from foster care placements; re-entry into foster care after age 18; hazard pay for child welfare agency caseworkers; and the use of Chafee funds.

COVID-19 and Foster and Kinship Caregivers | A Resource Guide for State Legislators

Issue Summary: Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and anticipated economic downturn, foster and relative caregivers face a range of issues while providing critical supports for the more than 437,000 children and youth currently in foster care in the U.S. Challenges include foster and relative caregivers not easily able to quarantine or self-isolate from children in their care, making plans for children should caregivers become incapacitated or hospitalized, difficulty keeping medical or behavioral health appointments and obtaining medication for children in their care.

Major Concerns:

  • Household stress resulting from job loss (foster parents and older youth), school closures and lack of extracurricular activities. This can cause placement instability as caregivers feel unable to handle children’s behaviors.
  • Facilitating visits between children and their biological parents and/or siblings and required caseworker visits.
  • Attendance at court hearings while social-distancing measures are in place and many courts are closed.
  • Navigating remote learning for children and youth out of school; foster and kinship care homes may not have computers or internet access.
  • Housing for older youth and young people who lost their college or university housing and want to identify relatives or former foster families for support.

Guidance for Legislators: State lawmakers can help ensure foster families and kinship care providers are included in developing COVID-19 responses and accommodations. Legislators can also work with child welfare administrators and other stakeholders to assess federal, state and local financial resources available to support caregivers during this crisis.

Summary of State and Federal Activity: The chart below contains federal guidance, directives and opportunities and examples of how states are addressing COVID-19’s impact on foster and kinship caregivers. As of August 7th, NCSL has identified New York, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia as the only jurisdictions that have introduced or enacted new legislation directly addressing these issues. NCSL staff will update this information every Friday if new information is available, so check back often.

State Resources

Topics

Sources

Description

Family support Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services This letter, which was jointly issued by the Administration for Children and Families and the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, encourages family support, maternal and child health, and early childhood programs to promote family strengthening and prevention strategies via virtual, electronic, telephonic, or other safe means during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Foster care providers National Conference of State Legislatures

NCSL’s Supporting Foster Parents webpage provides 50-state legislative charts on laws related to foster parent bill of rights, foster parent advisory groups, family and medical leave, liability insurance, recruitment/retention and licensing.

Kinship care providers

National Conference of State Legislatures

NCSL’s Supporting Kinship Caregivers webpage provides 50-state legislative charts on laws on relative notification, placement preference, licensing, financial subsidies, medical and educational consent, relatives standing in court hearings and definitions of fictive kin.

Guardianship District of Columbia The District of Columbia adopted PR23-0871 declares the existence of an emergency with respect to the need to expand the standby guardianship law to enable a parent, legal guardian, or legal custodian who is, or may be subject to an adverse immigration action or exposure to COVID 19, to make short term plans for a child without terminating or limiting that person's parental or custodial rights.
Health care

Illinois Governor’s Office

 

Illinois Executive Order 2020-10 specifies that individuals may leave their residence to work for or obtain services at any Human Services Operations, including any provider funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, or Medicaid that is providing services to the public and including state-operated, institutional, or community-based settings providing human services to the public.

Background checks

Washington Governor’s Office

 

Washington Executive Order 20-31 waives and suspends statutes and rules that require fingerprint-based background checks before a person may be approved to have unsupervised access to children during the COVID-19 pandemic, including foster and adoptive parents and group care staff.

Kinship care providers,

Safety,

Visitation

Washington Governor’s Office

 

Washington Executive Order 20-33 attempts to reduce the loss of foster and kinship care providers who fear COVID-19 exposure if children are allowed to visit people outside of the foster home; allows the Department of Children, Youth and Families to immediately waive and suspend statutory in-person visitation requirements under RCW 13.34 and RCW 74.13 that require in-person visitation of children in custody by parents or other family members and by Department caseworkers.

Housing

New York Legislature

 

New York Senate Bill 8140 (Pending) would create a COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance program to ensure that individuals and families are not rendered homeless or severely financially burdened because of an inability to pay the cost of housing and other necessities due to loss of income related to COVID-19. The law states that “income” for purposes of eligibility for emergency rental assistance is not to include foster care payments.

Facility guidance,

Family support,

Foster care providers

Vermont General Assembly

 

Vermont House Bill 742 (Enacted) would allow the Secretary of Human Services to waive or permit variances from foster care and residential program regulations. The legislation also specifies that a business will not be charged or have their experience rating (related to the risk of a business having an employee file for unemployment insurance) increased if an employee who is caring for a foster child with COVID-19 claims unemployment benefits.

Family support

Washington Legislature

 

Washington House Bill 2739 (Enacted) modifies the shared leave program (to provide annual leave, sick leave, or personal holidays to fellow state employees) to permit employees who are isolated or quarantined, or who have relatives or household members (to include foster children) who are isolated or quarantined due to COVID-19.

Health care,

Visitation

Georgia Division of Family and Children Services

Child Welfare Direct Services Continuity FAQ – Guidance from the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services on monthly contacts with children in foster care, foster parent contact requirements, protocols for youth suspected of having COVID-19, court-ordered visitation, and foster parent use of a reasonable and prudent parenting standard to identity substitute caregivers.

Health care,

Visitation

Indiana Department of Child Services

Information for Foster Parents on COVID-19 – Includes guidance related to Indiana’s requirement for physician visits for children entering care, use of technology to connect foster children and parents, new placement screening and protocols for children’s suspected COVID-19 exposure.

Health care,

Workforce

Washington Department of Children, Youth and Families

Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families Coronavirus Updates and Foster Care Licensing – Provides information on child welfare, foster care and foster care licensing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Childcare,

Health care

Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Foster Parent Letter and Kinship Care Family Letter – Describes COVID-19, its impact on children, what to do if a foster child or someone in the household has COVID-19 symptoms, how COVID-19 impacts foster parents’ or relative caregivers’ ability to make reasonable and prudent parenting decisions, and how to find child care for children placed in their homes when schools are closed.

 

Additional Child Welfare Information and Guidance – Includes guidance for congregate care facilities, information on court hearings and waivers for requirements, such as regular health and dental exams.

Federal Actions

Topics

Sources

Description

Foster care prevention

Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Children’s Bureau will not require a separate application for the $500 million one-time transition fund that states can use to help with the implementation of the Family First Act. All eligible states, territories, and tribes will be awarded funds as soon as possible.

Kinship care providers

Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Children’s Bureau has extended the deadline for state applications for Kinship Navigator funds to May 1, 2020.

Courts

Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Children’s Bureau clarified that they cannot waive statutory requirements for hearings, but courts are encouraged to use flexible means of convening such hearings during the COVID-19 crisis.

 

 

Family support

Federal legislation

The CARES Act provides $45 million for grants to states to support the child welfare needs of families during this crisis, and to help keep families together.

Housing

Federal legislation

Housing Support for Youth in Care When Colleges Close Due to COVID-19 – For youth and young adults not able to stay at their college or university, child welfare agencies are encouraged to offer temporary shelter in foster homes, facilitate contact with relatives or other potential caregivers, or identify other housing options.

Health care

Federal legislation

NCSL’s overview of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act addresses the bill’s provisions for workers and public health.

Family support,

Food programs

Federal legislation

Older Americans Act Disaster Relief – Provides states with funds for any disaster relief activities for older individuals or family caregivers served under the act, which may include, but are not limited to: providing drive-through, take out or home-delivered meals; providing well-being checks via phone, in-person or virtual means; and providing homemaker, chore, grocery/pharmacy/ supply delivery or other services.

COVID-19 and Older Youth in the Child Welfare System | A Resource Guide for State Legislators

Issue Summary: NCSL staff and child welfare experts expect many older youth in the child welfare system will experience disruptions in their lives due to social distancing measures necessary to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, many older youth and young adults who have recently exited the system will contend with housing and economic instability, including those who’ve lost their home or income as a result of college and university closures.

Major Concerns:

  • School closures place an additional burden on families and youth who previously relied on schools for some of their meals. In addition, many schools are continuing to provide lessons electronically, but not all youth have access to a computer or the internet.
  • Some courts are closed or operating with limited capacity, resulting in delayed reunification and substance abuse court proceedings. In addition, older foster youth are more likely than the general population to be involved with the juvenile justice system. These crossover youth will also have to contend with delayed judicial proceedings and visitation disruptions.
  • Older youth in the child welfare system with children of their own will join the legions of parents struggling to arrange safe, stable and developmentally appropriate child care.
  • Many youth aging out of foster care during the pandemic will struggle to become independent and self-sufficient without the support of the child welfare system or a permanent placement.

Guidance for Legislators: During this pandemic and throughout the anticipated economic downturn, legislators will be responsible for appropriating funds, championing legislative solutions, providing oversight of child welfare agencies, and addressing constituent concerns. As always, we recommend talking with your state child welfare agency about how you can help them.

Summary of State and Federal Activity: The chart below contains federal guidance, directives and opportunities and examples of how states are addressing COVID-19’s impact on vulnerable older youth and young adults. As of August 7th, NCSL has identified North Carolina and the District of Columbia as the only jurisdictions that have introduced legislation directly addressing these issues NCSL staff will update this information every Friday if new information is available, so check back often.

State Examples

Topics

Sources

Description

Aging out of care,

Housing

National Conference of State Legislatures

35 states allow for reentry into foster care up to age 21 (or up to 23 if a state exercises the option in their Title IV-E plan).

Older youth transitioning from care California Governor’s Office April 17, 2020, Executive Order - allows for temporary waivers to certain foster youth programs to ensure continuity of care in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Allows county child welfare agencies and probation departments to perform necessary functions using alternative processes other than face-to-face interactions, includes allowance for a 60-day waiver to allow for flexibility in the emergency placement of foster youth, and ensures that foster youth have access to critical programs and technology. Here is the all-county letter which outlines the program extending foster care beyond a youth’s 21st birthday through June 30, 2020.
Aging out of care

Alaska Governor’s Executive Order

An Executive Order suspends age requirements for foster care placement to allow 21-year-olds to choose not to age out. The suspension is retroactive to April 8, 2020, and remains in effect until 11:59 pm May 11, 2020, unless otherwise noted.

Aging out of care

District of Columbia Legislation

B23-0733 – The COVID-19 Response Supplemental Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 allows youth who are aging out of foster care to choose to remain in the District’s care during the declared emergency.

Aging out of care

Illinois Department of Children & Family Services

To support older youth transitioning from care, the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services is offering waivers of certain requirements such as requirements for housing assistance, completion of tasks for emancipation funds, and licensing provisions. The department will perform well-being checks of all youth currently under age 21 who have left care in the last two years.

Housing

Illinois Legislation

May 6, 2020 – Illinois has instituted a number of measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This includes hotel rooms for residents that need to leave their homes. These hotel rooms offer full wraparound services, including meals and medical assistance, and are entirely free for anyone to access through their county or local public health department.

Housing

New York Legislature

NY S 8140 - Creates a COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance program to ensure that individuals and families are not rendered homeless or severely financially burdened because of an inability to pay the cost of housing and other necessities due to loss of income related to COVID-19. The law states that “income” for purposes of eligibility for emergency rental assistance is not to include foster care payments.

Childcare, Funding

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

Childcare Guidance North Carolina, like many other jurisdictions, is under a “stay at home” order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Child care centers are considered essential services and may remain open. North Carolina has also launched a hotline to provide child care options for children of critical workers who do not have access to typical care because of COVID-19 closures.

Childcare, Food programs, Housing, Older youth transitioning from care

North Carolina

NC HB 1043 – Appropriates $19,000,000 to the Department of Health and Human Services to provide funding for food banks, support for residential settings, child protective services, housing security, and childcare. The department receives an additional $2,540,000 to serve youth in foster care up to age 21.

Food programs

Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

Nutrition and Meals Guidance – Schools in Washington state may continue to provide meals from closed sites. They may serve up to two “grab-n-go” meals per recipient per day.

Federal Resources

Topics

Sources

Description

Housing

Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Jerry Milner, associate commissioner for the Administration for Children and Families, released this letter and participated in a virtual town hall addressing housing for foster care alum.

Education,

Courts

American Bar Association

A list of distance learning questions for courts overseeing child welfare cases to consider when determining a child’s well-being.

Education

American Bar Association

A tip sheet for school districts during COVID-19. This includes tips for partnering with child welfare agencies, connecting children in foster care with school resources, and targeted support for students in special education.

Housing

Federal Legislation

Chafee Foster Care Program for Successful Transition to Adulthood – Up to 30% of a state’s or tribe’s annual allotment may be used to provide room and board assistance to eligible youth ages 18-21 (or up to 23 if that option has been exercised in the Chafee plan)

On March 19, 2020, the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth requested an increase in funding and increased flexibility in how states use the funds.

Funding,

Housing,

Federal Legislation

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act was passed on March 27, 2020, and provides $6.3 billion to the Administration for Children and Families, including $45 million in grants to states for child welfare services. NCSL provides an overview of the legislation.

Health care,

In-home services

Federal Legislation

Families First Coronavirus Response Act – Includes a temporary increase in the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP), which provides additional funding for child welfare agencies. This includes funding for foster youth through Title IV-E of the Social Security Act. NCSL provides a summary of the legislation.

Education,

Housing

Federal Legislation

McKinney-Vento Act – States must have procedures to ensure that homeless children and youth do not face barriers to accessing academic and extracurricular activities.