Category: Foster Parenting

Tips for Virtual Visitation

In light of the recent pandemic, the Department of Child Safety has enacted Social Distancing Protocol – Level 2 which means all court hearings, TDMS, parenting time, and home visitation from case managers and licensing staff will be temporarily conducted virtually. To get the latest news regarding Covid-19 and the Department of Child Safety please visit the State’s information and resources.

We understand the level of stress and uncertainty this can cause for all parties involved and as an agency want you to know we are here to support you. Everyone will be new to this virtual visitation thing. We appreciate your grace and patience as details and technology are navigated.

We also understand that virtual visits aren’t the most engaging for children and their families. One goal of visitation is to promote bonding and another is to assure safety for children and their biological families. Here are some helpful tips for virtual visits written by our staff member and former foster mom Amy Goshow. We hope these tips will help your foster children and their parents have successful visitations while they are unable to be in the same physical space.

Remember, change is hard and scary. Some children may feel awkward, sad or frightened having to visit their family virtually. 

~ have a quiet place away from the other children

~ let the child have their favorite toy/ stuffed (or real) animal to show their parent

~ have the child read their favorite book to their parent

~ discuss beforehand some topics the child can bring up, or a couple jokes or riddles

~ younger children can play with playdough or color while visiting 

~If you have a performer let them play their instrument, or sing 

~ Let this time be as stress-free as possible for all involved. A great way to model that is through your patience and kindness

Remember that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”  Psalm 46:1

Praying for you and the children in your care.

Coronavirus and visitations

The following is the latest from the Office of Licensing regarding the Coronavirus and visitation:

I know there has been a widespread of concern regarding the Coronavirus so please keep yourselves healthy! The following was just received regarding how this virus may impact mandated shared parenting/visitations. Please share with all licensing staff and families. As always the families should defer to the direction of the assigned case managers.

For children in care:

  • All regular activities for children including attending school, visitation, treatments, etc. should proceed as scheduled.
  • If a child is presenting as symptomatic including fever with cough or shortness of breath, please contact the child’s primary care physician for direction as you would during cold and flu season.
    • Children displaying these symptoms should remain home from activities until they are symptom-free without aide of medication for at least 24 hrs.
    • Any missed visits or court-ordered activities should be handled per regular procedures.  If the child’s illness extends such that more than 2 weeks of visits are missed, please escalate that information to the Program Administrator.
  • If the child’s primary care physician recommends that a youth be tested for COVID-19, please follow the direction of the physician and also contact CMDPmember services so they are aware of the testing.

Mandated Reporting, Why it Matters

All foster parents are mandated reporters.  What this means is that if we see or suspect abuse, we are required to report it.  Most of the time this feels awkward and uncomfortable.  It can be strange to call the hotline about suspected abuse, especially when you aren’t familiar with the family or the situation.  Sometimes we have to call because a child mentions something in passing, sometimes we have to call because we see a strange mark or a strange behavior that could indicate abuse.  Because it is never the job of the foster parent to investigate the comment, the mark, or the behavior, we often times are calling with very limited information and trusting the process to do its job.

This is so important. 

Recently one of our licensed foster parents were placed with a pair of sisters.  Their brother was placed into a separate foster home due to his special needs.  A few days into the placement, and following a visit, the girls came home sobbing and reported that their brother shared he was being abused in his foster home.  The foster mother was dubious of these claims.  For one, their brother is four years old.  For another, he is largely non-verbal.  She struggled to believe he could communicate in this manner and feared the girls were making false accusations in hopes of having their brother placed elsewhere. 

However, as a mandated reporter, she called the hotline to report the accusation and filed an incident report with the children’s case manager and the agency. 

An investigation was conducted and the child was ultimately removed from the home and placed in a safer setting.  The accusations were not false and indeed were found to be a legitimate concern.  It would have been so easy to dismiss the children.  To not listen to, or justify their complaint.  But as mandated reporters it is always important to report any and all suspected abuse.  Children need to know that they can trust the process.  That if they feel unsafe, or fear for someone’s safety, that there is a place to voice those concerns.  Many times we are that voice.  And we need to make sure we use that voice to share any and all information.  And please know, it really does make a difference. 

See or suspect abuse?  Please report it to the hotline at 1-888-SOS-CHILD (1-888-767-2445)