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COVID-19 Creates Deep Uncertainty in NYC’s Child-Welfare System

Manhattan Family Court went virtual last week

New York has been hit hard by COVID-19 and parents involved in the child protection system are badly affected. Rachel Blustain describes how, as the US struggles to catch up with the ever-growing Coronavirus crisis, child-welfare systems are racing to find their own solutions to wrenching ethical and practical dilemmas over how to safeguard the psychological well-being of children in foster care and the rights of families while protecting the physical health of children, parents, foster parents, staff and the community at large. The stakes are particularly high in New York City, which has committed itself to maintaining parent-child contact whenever possible for the nearly 8,000 children currently in foster care even as the city becomes the epicenter of the worldwide health crisis.

New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services has issued guidelines that recognize the potential for permanent psychological harm if children are unable to see their parents and siblings, especially during a time of crisis, and call for continued in-person visits in lower risk cases, based on guidance from public health officials. 

Read about how New York is dealing with the crisis and some unique collaborations that have formed