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COVID-19 could force foster parent shortage

COVID-19 foster parent shortage

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Foster families are expected to be in short supply as coronavirus cases grow.

That’s the concern for one agency: v (BCS).

BCS started placing unaccompanied minors in temporary foster homes around Indianapolis less than a year ago. But now, where there wasn’t a shortage before, officials said local children may soon be hard to place. Unaccompanied minors could still be placed in temporary foster care locally if necessary. But for the time being, officials are instead trying to place them in foster care closer to the border.

Thousands of Indiana children are in foster care right now. Teachers are typically the ones to report abuse to authorities. But with kids out of school, vulnerable kids need your eyes and your help.

“We are really concerned with our foster care children,” said Linda Wrestler with BCS.

Child advocates said, as more children spend longer amounts of time in the house, already vulnerable children might be more at-risk.

“We worry that with the isolation and the stay-at-home order, well, we know there’s going to be fewer eyes on children so those vulnerable children may not come to the attention of authorities,” said Wrestler.

Her staff conducts a lot of work these days virtually. But they keep at it because the work they do is essential.

“People just feel the weight of the coronavirus so there is more stress in families.”

For now, BCS is offering online information and foster family training. Wrestler said she understands many potential parents may be scared to take in children. But when we finally see relief from the pandemic, kids are going to need help.

“They say ‘shelter at home’ and home is a safe place, but we know home is always a safe space for everyone and we want to have families available to take those kids,” said Wrestler.

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