COVID-19 Child Welfare Changes/Updates/Resources (Updated 4/2/2020 5:00pm)

Your Rights:

  • (Oregon) Don’t forget that you have the Foster Care Ombudsman who you can reach out to with questions or concerns. Also know that some of your rights may not be able to be met in these times of emergency. Call the Youth Empowerment and Safety (Y.E.S.) line at 1-855-840-6036 or email fco.info@state.or.us.

Needs for Oregon Foster Families and Youth:

Visits with family:

  • 3/19/2020 at 8am (Oregon) Family visits for children and young adults in the care of DHS including cases that share concurrent jurisdiction with Oregon’s Nine Tribes or U.S. Federally Recognized Tribes. 
    • For all visitation and family contact: Please consider modifying plans to allow daily phone and virtual contact between families of origin and children; as well as siblings that are not together. More detail here.

Visits with case workers:

  • 3/18/2020 (National) Monthly caseworker visits: Section 422(b)(17) of the Social Security Act (the Act) requires that caseworkers visit children in foster care on a monthly basis.  The policy, as currently posted, prohibits using videoconferencing for the purpose of meeting that requirement, and requires that such visits must be held face-to-face. See Child Welfare Policy Manual (CWPM), §7.3, #8.
    • The current public health challenges and guidelines require a reconsideration of that policy. The monthly caseworker visit requirement remains in place, but we are modifying our policy to permit such visits to be conducted by videoconferencing in these current extraordinary circumstances. More detail here and here.
  • 3/18/20 12pm (Oregon) Monthly face to face contact between case workers and children currently residing in DHS certified foster homes, and other out of home care settings including homes certified by our Oregon tribes and caring for children in DHS custody:
    • Caseworkers will temporarily be permitted to conduct monthly face to face visits with children currently residing in DHS certified foster homes, and other out of home care settings virtually and by phone. More detail here.
  • 3/18/20 12pm (Oregon) Monthly face to face contact between case workers and children currently residing in-home:
    • Monthly in-person face to face contact must still occur for children currently on in-home plans or trial reunifications. More detail here.
  • 3/18/20 12pm (Oregon) Monthly face to face contact between case workers and care providers:
    • Caseworkers will temporarily be permitted to conduct face to face visits with certified care providers virtually and via phone. More detail here.

Child Abuse and Neglect Investigations:

  • 3/18/202 (Oregon) To report concerns, contact Oregon’s statewide HotLine at 1-855-503-SAFE (7233) or your local law enforcement. More detail here
  • 3/18/2020 (National) There are no federal requirements that govern the procedures for conducting investigations of alleged child abuse and neglect. State and local child protective services agencies should follow the guidance of state and local public health officials with respect to conducting investigations at this time, including whether caseworkers should initiate in-person contact. More detail here.

Other Legislative and Regulatory Flexibility:

  • 3/18/2020 (National) The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is unable to waive or alter requirements including the case review system requirements that are delineated at section §475(5) of the Act.  Although periodic reviews and permanency hearings are important protections for children in foster care, we have explained that the case review requirements are not a title IV-E eligibility requirement and, therefore, delays in conducting these activities will not adversely affect a child’s eligibility for title IV-E. More detail here.
  • 3/16/20 (Oregon) The Chief Justice has put out an order to restrict court hearings and operations, except in specific circumstances. More details here.
  • 3/17/20 (Oregon) Citizen Review Boards (CRB) have stopped meeting. They hope to have new protocols in place to meet by phone starting April 13, 2020. More details here.

Education:

  • (National) Check with your local school district for technology to borrow.
  • (Oregon) Any youth age 14 or older could use the ILP Discretionary Funds to purchase a laptop ($300 or less, or $250 or less in Multnomah County). They have a vendor where they get decent laptops at really good prices. Ask your case worker, ILP worker, or Contact Oregon’s ILP office at 503-945-5684 or ILP.Central@state.or.us for support. 
  • 3/18/20 (National) Free laptops for foster youth to access school remotely. “For our program, to ensure we remain mission aligned and to ensure we are protecting the privacy of the child, we ask that the wishes get submitted by the case worker. The case worker can create an account to become a community partner right here. Please share this link with them. (Lisa can create an account to post “wishes” for youth who have a closed case.)
  • (National) Closing of Universities. The Children’s Bureau urges all child welfare agencies to immediately contact all youth and young adults in colleges or in other settings who may need assistance finding and securing housing while their college or university is closed. More here. Contact Oregon’s ILP office at 503-945-5684 or ILP.Central@state.or.us for support.
  • (National) Post-Secondary Academic Support and Success. Students currently enrolled in post-secondary education should contact their general, departmental advisors, and/or specific student support services (ie.TRIO, Educational Opportunity Program, Multicultural Student Services) to determine what resources are available to support their academic success, completion and graduation.
  • (National) Scholly is providing $200 in cash assistance to provide essential financial help to buy groceries, health supplies, and other necessities for those in need. If you’re a student, parent of a student, or graduate, we encourage you to apply today.

Food:

Housing:

  • (National) Through Housing and Urban Development (HUD) former foster youth have access to Family Unification Program (FUP) or Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) vouchers for housing. Google to find your counties “Public Housing Authority” and ask about how to access these. Contact Oregon’s ILP office at 503-945-5684 or ILP.Central@state.or.us for support. 
  • (Oregon) 211info connects people with health and social service organizations.
  • (National) You may also contact your college/University’s housing office to determine what housing accommodations are available for those in unstable housing situations during this time.
  • 3/11/20 (Portland/Multnomah Co) A stop of evictions due to non-payment of rent for tenants experiencing a substantial loss of income in connection to the COVID-19 crisis is in place. Please view the Eviction Moratorium FAQ to learn more.

Health:

  • (National) As former foster youth you have access to health insurance until age 26. FosterClub can help you get re-connected.
  • 3/15/20 (National) While the HIPAA Privacy Rule is not suspended during a public health or other emergency, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) may waive certain provisions of the Privacy Rule. More details here and here.
  • 3/19/20 (National) A covered health care provider that wants to use audio or video communication technology to provide telehealth to patients during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency can use any non-public facing remote communication product that is available to communicate with patients without penalty. More details here.
  • (National) Nike’s NTC app/membership is now free to all during this COVID lockdown. NTC offers more than 185 workouts ranging from 15 to 60 minutes, suitable for ALL FITNESS LEVELS. Yoga and bodyweight training is particularly useful if you’re stuck in lockdown with no equipment at home.
  • (Oregon) Health Share has a coronavirus webpage and a list of some community resources to support you during this difficult time.

Mental/Emotional Support:

  • (Oregon) We acknowledge the emotional burden and toll that this current situation is having on us, our loved ones and community. If at any time, you feel like you need to reach out to talk to someone, please contact YouthLine via phone at 1-877-968-8491 or send a text to teen2teen’ to 839863. More details here
  • (National) If at any time you are experiencing thoughts of no longer living and/or harming yourself, contact the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-88255. More details here.
  • (National) To limit feelings of loneliness, this is the best time to utilize platforms such as facebook, snapchat, zoom, skype, and/or mobile phone capabilities to stay connected with your friends and loved ones.
  • (National) A Home Within provides open-ended individual psychotherapy to current and former foster youth, free of charge. Note: they may not be able to meet all requests at this time.
  • (Oregon) Youth Era is providing their peer support services virtually. More details here.
  • (National) Foster Youth in Action started The Restorative & Community Care Hour. This is a virtual space on Sundays for connection, restoration, and collective support for anyone who is currently or has ever been in foster care. Practices will vary, but may include Somatic breathing, Restorative Yoga, Meditation, Creative Arts and more. More details here.

Connection:

  • (National) The Warriors of Foster Care FaceBook page was started by Dominque M Paris who OFYC members met at the 2019 Foster Youth in Action L4C conference. This is a space for current and former foster youth who are impacted by the virus and the unique challenges it presents members of our community
  • (National) Foster Youth in Action started Foster Power Forum. This is a virtual space held weekly on Tuesdays for local and national foster youth-led organizations to 1) lift up immediate needs from members in our community, 2) share local resources and strategies across groups, and 3) coordinate ongoing national efforts to inform short- and long- term advocacy strategies to mobilize resources directly in the hands of young people. More details here.

Bill Support:

  • 3/18/20 (Portland) The Portland Water Bureau will not disconnect water service for non-payment of sewer, stormwater and water bills. 
  • 3/18/20 (Oregon) Portland General Electric, Pacific Power and NW Natural will suspend late fees and shutoffs
  • 3/18/20 (Oregon) Comcast and Charter are offering free internet access to eligible households, among other measures, to help people stay connected.3/16/20 (National) Spectrum commits to offering free internet for 60 days to households with K-12 or college students who don’t already have a Spectrum subscription. It is also opening its Wi-Fi hotspots for public use. To enroll, call 1-844-488-8395.
  • (National) U-Haul: Moving Support for Displaced Students: 30 days of free self-storage at U-Haul-owned and -operated facilities to help college students impacted by unforeseen schedule changes at their universities (availability varies by location). Find the location near you and contact by phone to take advantage of the off. 
  • (Oregon) 211info connects people with health and social service organizations.
  • 3/20/20 (National) Student Loan Relief: Secretary DeVos announced that Federal Student Aid (FSA) will provide student loan relief to allow borrowers to temporarily stop their payments without worrying about accruing interest. If you have student loans, contact your loan servicer to see if and how these policies will affect you.

Employment:

  • (Oregon) You can find COVID-19 Related Business Layoffs, Closures, and Unemployment Insurance Benefits information here.

Legislature:

  • (Oregon) You can reach out to your legislators if you have questions or concerns as well!
    • Legislator Lookup – enter your address in the box in the top right hand corner – a box will pop up showing  the “Senate” tab with your Senator’s name and email address, click on the “House” tab to find your Representative’s name and email address, click on the “Congress” tab to find your United States Congressperson.
  • (Oregon) The Joint Special Committee On Coronavirus Response is now meeting regularly. You can review meeting materials or watch hearings.

2020 Census:

  • (National) This may seem like an odd “resource”, but the US Census is how the federal government finds out how many people (and children) there are in Oregon and your local community. This determines how much money they give for things like Medicaid (that’s OHP here in OR) and Head Start, where roads and sewers need to be built to support all the people who live in a given area, as well as how many representatives each state gets in the House of Representatives. Watch for a form in the mail or go here to do it online!

COVID-19:

Questions: