Foster care and adoption agencies experience significant delays amid COVID-19 outbreak

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — During the current COVID-19 pandemic, adoption and foster care systems have halted their application process to ensure social distancing.

Those hoping to adopt a child or become a foster family are now forced to wait until social distancing measures are lifted.

“Certainly it has delayed the ability of many families to continue the process,” said Herbie Newell, president and executive director at Lifeline Children’s Services in Birmingham. “It’s delayed the process for many to be able to go bring children home, even though they’ve already been legally placed with them.”

The roadblock is that an agency must conduct a home check. That means that adoption and foster home applications can’t be fully completed virtually.

“We can try as many different media to further the process, but at some point, there needs to be a face-to-face interaction before we can approve them,” Newell said.

This process to ensure that families are a safe home for a child in accordance to their standards. Newell said delays will be more significant for international adoptions than domestic.

“There are ways that we continue to help people maneuver this process,” he said.

Newell explained that though there are delays, potential applicants can get a few months into the process, albeit remotely.

Newell urged parents already registered as a foster family who may have temporarily left the system to get back in now.

“They are one of the easiest resources for the state and those who are working in foster care.” he said talking about families already registered. “We need you to come out of retirement now. They need you right now.”


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