A Message on COVID-19 from the Children’s Bureau
Directly Related Resources
- Appendix 3 -Disaster Relief Flexibilities to Reduce Burden for Financial Assistance (May 14, 2021)
- Letter to Child Welfare Leaders About Virtual Adaptations for the Title IV-E Prevention Program (February 1, 2021)
- Ensuring the Continuation of Critical Court Hearings During Covid-19 (December 4, 2020)
Given the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, we are aware of the impact that it may have on the populations you serve.
As our partners at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) continue to work closely with state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, as well as public health partners across the globe to respond to contain COVID-19, we want to inform you that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at HHS continues to provide updates and guidance from medical professionals about how to protect you and those you serve from COVID-19.
We urge you to stay informed and vigilant, and share information with your staff, subrecipients, and community partners and stakeholders. Visit the CDC website Visit disclaimer page for regularly updated information.
Everyday preventative actions can include the following:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze; throw the tissue away immediately after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you cough or sneeze.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick, as well.
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. While it may seem simple, germs often spread this way.
- At the workplace, wash your hands frequently and practice caution when coming into contact with commonly touched surfaces like door handles, handrails, and elevator buttons.
Additionally, the CDC recently issued a series of guidance documents on how to prepare and take action for COVID-19. Some of these guidance documents Visit disclaimer page may be relevant to your work and the populations you serve.
Employees planning domestic travel should routinely check CDC’s website for information about COVID-19 for travelers and travel-related industries and take into consideration the location and purpose of their travel.
Children Involved in the Child Welfare System
Foster Care Providers
The CDC provides specific guidance for households Visit disclaimer page that will be helpful to foster family home providers.
While the CDC does not provide guidance specifically targeted to the types of child care institutions in which some children in foster care reside, it does provide guidance for long-term care facilities Visit disclaimer page that is of relevance to such placement types.
Child Welfare Workforce
In addition to the guidance mentioned above for individuals regarding prevention, the Department of Labor’s, Occupational Safety and Health Administration Visit disclaimer page provides information concerning coronavirus.
It is critically important that child welfare agencies develop a process to remain informed of the ongoing updates and instructions from the CDC and state and local public health officials in order to make informed, fact-based decisions about meeting the needs of children in foster care during this time.
We encourage you to maintain contact with your local health department if you or your client exhibits symptoms that may be related to COVID-19.
COVID-19 can put additional pressure on already vulnerable children, youth, and families. The child welfare field is uniquely positioned to support families in this time of increased stress. The following resources outline guidance for social workers dealing with the virus and can help caregivers think about how an infectious disease outbreak might affect their family:
- Webpage on Federal Government Response to COVID-19 (Available in English Visit disclaimer page and Spanish Visit disclaimer page )
Children With Disabilities
The COVID-19 pandemic has required the Social Security Administration (SSA) to limit in-person services to protect its customers and employees, but children with disabilities and their families are still eligible to receive financial support. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program helps children with physical and/or mental disabilities who have limited income and resources.
If you think your child or someone you know could be eligible for SSI, visit the Disability Benefits- Apply for a Child (Under Age 18) Visit disclaimer page webpage to learn more and apply. To contact your local SSA office, use the SSA office locator Visit disclaimer page tool and call the local office phone number.