As schools reopen, more child welfare referrals are expected

WTAP News @ 6
Published: Feb. 21, 2021 at 7:41 PM EST
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Covid has had a big impact on kids. WTAP spoke with the Parkersburg office of the National Youth Advocate Program to see how their foster programs have been impacted.

While Covid is a lot to deal with by itself, foster kids deal with stressors on top of online learning, like living in an entirely new home. Denise McGinty of NYAP’s Parkersburg office said one big change the earlier days of the pandemic brought on is that all visits went virtual. This means biological parents without the resources to video-call had to phone in rather than their usual in-person visits. Now, however, there are Covid precautions in place that allow for in-person visits.

Although the Parkersburg office hasn’t seen an increase in referrals during Covid, Mcginty expects more to come in when schools are fully back in session.

She said, “Since the school system is a lot of the time the first line for referrals and they’re with the children every day and they know their families and dynamics and what’s happening often times and they are mandated reporters so they’re not in school right now so it’s a little harder for them to pick up on those things.”

The Parkersburg office is looking for nearby foster families to train. Training is online now, due to Covid, as are adoptions.

“It’s never ideal to, you know, have to send them hours away. It just makes it a lot harder for them. They have to travel to see their parents when they have their visits and, you know, being closer to home is just ideal, especially if they’re lucky enough to stay in their same school or the same district,” McGinty said.

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