The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued information regarding changes child welfare services and probation because of COVID-19. Counties must ensure continuity of services. Even if counties operate with reduced face-to-face contact, counties must continue to address safety needs to children reported to be abused, children in foster care and children who remain at home who receive child welfare services.
Current requirements for monthly in-person visitation have not changed at this time. The federal government indicated that there are no exceptions to the requirement for at least monthly visits to children in foster care.
Counties may reassess the need to request support from their peers in out of county placement cases. Counties should also coordinate with tribal partners.
For youth placed out of state, counties should contact CDSS for assistance if there are problems related to travel restrictions for face-to-face visits. CDSS will work with other states to facilitate visits. Counties should be flexible with other states that request assistance with face-to-face visits.
Counties must contact non-minor dependents who are in school to ensure that they have necessary resources while they are out of school and to assist in returning to campuses when schools reopen. To assist with online classes, iFoster is offering free unlimited hotspots, headsets and laptops to assist with taking online classes. A flyer about the program is attached to the All County Letter.
Delays in Resource Family Approval (RFA) related to COVID-19 may be considered good cause for not meeting the 90 days timeframe for RFA completion and emergency caregiver funding should continue beyond 120 days. (ACL 20-23, March 16, 2020.)