Coronavirus, Kids and Families

The Chronicle‘s Coverage of Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice in a Time of Pandemic

to view a running thread that is updated as new developments arise, or dive into our COVID-19 stories to the right. 

Lack of Shelter Beds in New York Leaves LGBTQ Youth At Risk During Pandemic

With shelter doors closing and beds full, LGBTQ youth and providers in New York City are left to face coronavirus on their own.

Calls to Release Youth from Lockups Due to Virus Threat Grow Nationwide

As the pandemic worsened, and calls to release youth in lockup grew louder, Pennsylvania juvenile justice advocates went to court to try and force the issue. “We are in dire circumstances,” said Marsha Levick, deputy director and chief counsel for the Juvenile Law Center.

What's in The Stimulus Package for Youth and Family Services?

Last week, President Trump signed a $2 trillion bill aimed at shoring up businesses and workers as America weathers a pandemic that could be followed by a long recession. The Chronicle breaks down what the plan includes that will directly affect child welfare and family service providers around the country.

Layoffs During Pandemic Retraumatize Former Foster Youth Let Go from Major California Advocacy Organization

Current and former foster youths working for California Youth Connection were gearing up to help others through a tough time during the coronavirus shutdown. Then the layoffs came.

Days After Initiating Layoffs and Restructure, California Youth Connection Executive Director Resigns

Last week, The Chronicle reported that Haydée Cuza had laid-off much of the staff at the well-known advocacy group California Youth Connection, just as unemployment claims hit record highs in the state. Just days after an emergency board meeting was held to discuss her actions, Cuza resigned.

Feds Lay Out Minimum Expectations for Child Welfare Courts During Coronavirus

U.S. Children’s Bureau leader Jerry Milner reminded state child welfare courts that remote or otherwise, certain hearings had to be held to keep federal dollars flowing during coronavirus.

OPINION: The Need for Extraordinary Efforts: Time of Crisis Reveal a System’s Values

In a month or two, Vivek Sankaran writes, parents who have been separated from the children will reenter juvenile and family courts for the first time since the traumatic pandemic. How courts react will reveal a system’s true colors.

OPINION: Looking Ahead: The Nation’s Child Welfare Systems after Coronavirus

Fred Wulczyn of Chapin Hall’s Center for State Child Welfare Data on the likelihood that child welfare systems will experience a soaring demand curve in the aftermath of coronavirus.

New York Foster Youth Ousted from Dorms Face the Weekend in Pandemic Limbo

New York City’s Dorm Project students, all current and former foster youths were assured they were going to be able to stay. An abrupt about-face left them scrambling for options over the weekend to the ire of city council’s child welfare leadership.

California Considers Extending Foster Care Supports for Youth Following Advocates' Appeal for COVID-19 Relief

California’s Department of Social Services appears to be considering some measures proposed by child welfare advocates, including extension of foster care past 21 for those who age out during the pandemic lockdown.

Juvenile Justice Systems Wrestle with How to Shrink the Number of Youth in Lock-Up

Incarcerated youth are at high risk of coronavirus infection, and some systems are now taking calls to release low-risk kids seriously

California Youth Connection Abruptly Lays Off Most Staff to ‘Restructure’ Amid Pandemic

In a move that shocked its partners in the child welfare world, California Youth Connection laid off most of its staff and announced it would use the slowdown created by the coronavirus pandemic to restructure.

Shut in At Home, Foster and Adoptive Parents Look Online for Support

Martha Hornthal and her wife Kathleen are among the many foster and adoptive parents who rely on outside services to help with high-needs youth. Permanency services providers are trying to figure out the best way to continue those in trying times.

A Heartfelt Appeal on Behalf of Incarcerated Youth During Pandemic

A letter from David Domenici, founder of the Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings, about how youth are feeling inside the walls of juvenile justice facilities these days.

Panic, Frantic Calls as New York Foster Youth Ousted from Dorms

After regular reassurances that their living situation was stable, more than 100 current and former foster youths were given two days to vacate college dorms in New York City.

“The fact that it’s an emergency about saving lives that’s fine,” one said. “But there are students who have nowhere to go. Maybe 10 I know of.”

Coronavirus Claims Beloved New York Juvenile Justice Mentor

“Magnificent Miller,” “Miller Maine,” and “Uncle Mill.” These are just some of the nicknames lovingly used to describe Jermaine Miller, a renowned youth worker with the nonprofit Sheltering Arms whose life was claimed by the coronavirus this month.

California Walls Off Juvenile Justice Facilities to New Entries

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that during the coronavirus lockdown of the state, its juvenile justice facilities will not accept new entries.

Coronavirus Hits a New York Group Home – How One Nonprofit Responded

In a scenario that is likely to play out at residential programs around the country, one New York City-area nonprofit jumped into containment mode when a staffer tested positive for coronavirus.

Scared but Stable, a Former Foster Youth Fights for Survival During Pandemic

April Barcus is a 24-year-old former foster youth in the Los Angeles area. She talks to reporter Sara Tiano about trying to survive the pandemic with health complications, unemployment and mounting bills.

Even with More Protective Supplies on the Way, Coronavirus Confusion for Los Angeles Social Workers

As Los Angeles County awaits more protective gear, a state directive has created tension about protecting employees from coronavirus on the job.

Homeless Youth Found Infected in New York as Providers Clamor for Help

A young person at a youth homeless shelter tested positive for coronavirus on the same day providers implored the mayor to address “significant concerns” with operation plans during the pandemic.

New York City Scrambles for Staffing, Beds for Foster Youth Amid Pandemic

New York City and its network of foster care providers face a duel challenge: isolating symptomatic kids, and removing them from foster parents who fall too ill.

New York, Los Angeles Take Different Paths on Family Visits

Two of the largest child welfare systems in the country took decidedly different positions on family visits during the coronavirus outbreak.

L.A. Child Welfare Social Workers Conducting Home Visits without Protection Against Coronavirus

As first responders face a growing shortage of protective gear, social workers across sprawling Los Angeles County have continued to make visits to the homes of children and families in the child welfare system — at times without masks or gloves, according to social workers with the county’s Department of Children and Family Services.

Human Services Sector Calls for $60 Billion from Congress, “Essential” Status Locally

A group of nonprofit leaders in youth and family services are calling for a $60 billion influx from Congress and “essential services” status from local government to keep a precarious but critical part of the economy.

Legislators Ask Leadership for Increases, Flexibility on Federal Funds for Child Welfare

A group of leaders on child welfare policy in Congress – Reps. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Don Bacon (R-Neb.) – sent a letter to House leadership asking for augmentation of certain child welfare programs to help during the coronavirus outbreak.

Opinion: Family Visits ARE An Essential Service

With many systems shutting down in-person aspects of child welfare, two leaders on family visitation outline how it should be continued and supported during this crisis.

Kinship Support Groups Mobilize To Help A Vulnerable Population

Most youth removed from their homes are cared for by relatives, many of whom are older and single or widowed. In Nevada, Ali Caliendo’s organization is working to keep them safe in a dangerous time.

Los Angeles Probation Shuts Down Office Visits, Mulls New Rules on Incarceration

One of the largest local probation systems in the country has shut down its offices, walled off facilities from family visits, and is mulling changes to which youths need to be locked up during the pandemic.

Opinion: Coronavirus Reveals The Need to Modernize Child Welfare and Juvenile Courts

Around the country, many courts are shutting down and delaying important hearings for families and children, Vivek Sankaran writes. It wouldn’t be necessary if we had invested in modern technology to improve the court process.

In Los Angeles, Food Access Has Parents Fearful

Shields for Families is one of the city’s largest family preservation and substance abuse programs. While clients worry about access to food, its longtime leader thinks about keeping the doors open in crisis.

Washington State Child Welfare Leader to Field: “Tsunami” is Coming Your Way

Dave Newell of Children’s Home Society of Washington reflects on a week that forced his leadership team to think about how to keep a lifeline to clients while worrying about the future health of the staff.

Justice Experts Appeal for Smaller Probation Footprint During Pandemic

A group of current and former probation leaders are asking for systems to dramatically reducing the footprint of community supervision during the crisis.

Child Welfare, Adoption Conference Schedule Impacted by Coronavirus Closures

The coronavirus pandemic has predictably blown up the traditional child welfare conference schedule, which typically runs from March to May.

Nonprofits Are Simultaneously Contemplating Strategy on Two Fronts

A look at how one nonprofit thought through changes to its funding, staffing and partnerships in a whirlwind week.

New York City Court’s Coronavirus Plan Might Mean Longer Stays in Foster Care or Youth Detention

Multiple individuals who worked in the city’s family courts have tested positive for coronavirus in the past week, according to the Office of Court Administration.

Minnesota Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice Courts Will Stay Open

The Minnesota courts have committed to staying open for child welfare and juvenile justice proceedings during the crisis.

New York City Foster Care Rushes to Prepare for Coronavirus

If schools close, how to provide enough child care to foster parents? How to ensure college-age foster youth have stable housing as schools close their dorms?

As Coronavirus Shutdowns Grow, Resource Families Left with Little Guidance

As the effects of the coronavirus spread took hold, foster and kinship caregivers scrambled to make plans with little guidance from above.

California Braces for Impact

A look at how America’s most populous state prepared for how the coronavirus will impact dozens of county-led child welfare and juvenile justice agencies.

Nonprofit Raising Money to Help Foster Youth Facing College Closures

A national nonprofit is raising funds to help assist current and former foster youths who are impacted by campus and dorm closures in the wake of coronavirus.

Coronavirus Comes to New York City Family Court

Lawyers and other workers were frustrated by the delays in notification after an intern at the Manhattan family court tested positive for COVID-19.

Coronavirus: What Child Welfare Agencies Need to Think About

Our coverage of the coronavirus pandemic began with a forward-looking, crowd-sourced view of what child welfare and juvenile justice agencies should be thinking about.