BOISE, Idaho — Across the country, there are over 400,000 children in foster care. According to Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare, there are only 1,600 children in the system as of May 2020. That number is low when compared to other states in the Pacific Northwest like Washington (11,399 as of 2018), and Oregon (7,577 as of 2018).
Despite Idaho’s low number of children in the system but a slight increase in adoptions since the outbreak COVID-19, at Idaho News 6, we decided to look deeper into the impact COVID-19 has had on the states foster care system.
When the virus first hit the Gem State Julie Sevcik, the state’s foster care program specialist tells us that face-to-face visits between children and their parents were prohibited. Molly Gratton, a licensed clinical social worker and owner of “Molly and Me counseling and training center" says the sudden change “could lead to a lot of symptoms of trauma.”
Sevcik says per Governor’s four-stage re-opening plan, last week, children were able to meet their parents face-to-face as long as they wear face masks and practice good hygiene.
With many foster children coping with the constant change of this pandemic, Gratton, who is a licensed foster parent in the state of Idaho and works with children who are or have been in the system, says she sees increased anxiety in kids. She believes it may have something to do with “losing” opportunities and privileges to the pandemic, adding, “historically, what foster children struggle with is loss.”
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is always looking for foster care parents. If this is something of interest to you, click here for more information.