Foster Parent Coronavirus FAQ

To Our Foster Parents,

We value our partnership with you in service to the youth and families of our community. We know that as a caregiver, your first concern is how to protect and take care of your children and family.  We want you to know that this is our highest priority as well. We will maintain consistent communication with you all throughout this event and update you as we receive information in this evolving situation.

We have been gathering some of your most frequently asked questions, categorizing them in the accordions below, and responding to them as we receive solutions.  Because this is an unprecedented scenario that is always evolving, this page will be updated frequently. Please check back periodically for new information.  If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us through the contact form below.

It is times like these that your commitment to the children in your care is so greatly appreciated.  We believe you are true heroes.

 

Questions about Re-licensing

What will happen if our foster parent license is near expiration? (posted 3-20-2020)

  • The Department of Children and Families (DCF) has stated that they intend to extend the re-licensing period; however, we are waiting on official guidance from DCF.

If we are up for re-licensing, can we send photos or do the interviews over the phone to the licensing specialist?  We want to assist licensing staff any way we can! (posted 3-20-2020)

  • Re-licensing visits are still required at this time;  we are waiting on guidance from DCF regarding adjustments to standard processes.

Questions about Adoption

We are waiting for adoption finalization and the date. How is that being handled? (posted 3-20-2020)

  • Presently, Adoption Finalization Hearings are still occurring.

Will adoption home studies still be able to happen or will they be on hold? (posted 3-20-2020) (revised 3-20-2020)

  • The team is completing  home studies in currently progress.  Once we are approved to go back into the homes for home visits, we will resume working on all studies.  We anticipate new home studies can begin by mid-April, but that may change as updated information is received.

Questions about Visitation

** Read Administrative Order AOSC20-23 from the Supreme Court of Florida ** (posted 4-6-20)

** Read Administrative Order AOSC20-18  from the Supreme Court of Florida ** (posted 3-27-20)

** Read 2nd  Amended Administrative Order 20-16 regarding Covid-19 Emergency Procedures Juvenile Dependency Visitation Practices ** (posted 4-6-2020)

Does the current court order halting in-person visitation apply to required caseworker visits with foster children in the foster home? Can we as foster parents request that a caseworker does not visit our home in person & do these visits via video call instead? (posted 4/9/2020)

  • The current court order does not apply to the case manager (CM) visiting the child in the home.  A foster parent can request that a CM do a video visit instead of an in-person visit by sharing those concerns with the CM and/or the CM Supervisor.There are certain circumstances in which face-to-face, in-person visits with children may be required, for example, if the child has just entered the system of care.  However, we are committed to observing the social distancing rules and in no way wish to make our foster parents uncomfortable or put at risk.

2nd Amended Administrative Order 20-16  suspends visitations through May 15th that require the attendance of a DCF employee or contractor.  What about unsupervised visits? (posted 3-25-2020) (revised 3-27-20) (revised 4/6/2020)

  • The Florida Supreme Court has issued an order suspending all in-person visitation through May 29th or further order of the court unless all parties and the caregiver agree that the visitation can take place in a manner that does not pose a health threat.  If you do not feel comfortable releasing a child for a visit, document your concerns and contact your case worker.

Who will be coordinating virtual visits? Will they be scheduled and will the parents have to still confirm with the FSW or case manager before the visit? How long do we need to wait if the parent(s) do not dial in? (posted 3-20-2020)

  • The Family Allies team is working with our parents and caregivers to developed an agreed upon visitation plan for virtual visits.  There will be not formal confirmation prior to each visit.  The caregiver or Family Allies team member will call the parents during the scheduled visit time.  If the parent does not respond within 15 minutes the visit will be cancelled.

I am worried that bio family will have issues with teleconference visits. Who should inform them of this change? (posted 3-20-2020)

  • The Family Allies team will inform the bio family of any changes or updates relating to visitation.

Will bio parents be tested for Coronavirus? (posted 3-20-2020)

  • We currently do not have the capability to test biological parents. Prior to contact, all parents are asked the following questions:
    1. Is anyone in your household sick, feverish, or experiencing ongoing coughing or sneezing?
    2. Has anyone in your household come into contact with someone who is sick, feverish, or experiencing ongoing coughing or sneezing?
    3. Has anyone in your household traveled outside the United States or to any “hot spots” in the last three weeks?  If parents answer yes, or if the Family Allies team member believes there is a concern, the decision to visit will be escalated to Family Allies leadership to determine the best course of action.

Will extended family member visits such as grandparent visits continue? (posted 3-20-2020)

  • Yes, these visits can continue either by video conference or telephone.

Will there be family visits as normal? (posted 3-20-2020) (revised 3/25/2020)(revised 3/27/20)

  • The Florida Supreme Court has issued an order suspending all in-person visitation unless all parties and the caregiver agree that the visitation can take place in a manner that does not pose a health threat.  If you do not feel comfortable releasing a child for a visit, document your concerns and contact your case worker.
  • In lieu of in-person visits, to the maximum extent feasible, visitation must be conducted by electronic means with video communication preferred and telephonic communication permitted when video communication is not feasible.

Will court-ordered 4 hour supervised virtual visits be reduced in time? (posted 3-25-2020)

  • Tele-visits will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, with input from the Therapeutic Supervised Visit (TSV) provider. If it is feasible to continue having 4 hour virtual visits, visits should continue.   If video-conferencing between the child and parent for 4 hours is not feasible because it is not therapeutic and/or beneficial, then it is appropriate to limit the time. Keep in mind that these visits may need to be “made-up” when the health crisis passes.  Each case is approached in a strength-based, family-focused manner with diligent efforts to continue visits ongoing, in the best interests of the children and families served.

If in-person visits are suspended and supposed to be done via video when feasible, who will assist us with video calls? (posted 3/27/20)

  • For supervised visits, case workers and/or therapeutic supervised visit providers will facilitate calls.  If caregivers normally coordinate visits, we recommend using a video conference service such as Skype for tele-visits.  Skype will preserve caregivers’ privacy, so that they do not have to release phone numbers, Facebook accounts, etc.

We have an infant in our care; can we record the baby and send the recording to a case worker to count as a visit?  We would like to protect our personal phone number. (posted 3/27/20)

  • Because there is no opportunity for a parent to interact with the child from a pre-recorded video, a recorded video cannot count as a visit. We should make every effort to facilitate live tele-visits whenever that is feasible.
  • If caregivers normally coordinate visits, we recommend using a video conference service such as Skype for tele-visits.  Skype will preserve caregivers’ privacy, so that they do not have to release phone numbers, Facebook accounts, etc.

What should I do if I’m not comfortable letting a child in my care leave for an unsupervised family visit? (posted 3/27/20) (revised 4/6/2020)

  • Administrative Order AOSC20-23 From the Supreme Court of Florida suspends all in-person visits unless all parties and the caregiver agree that the visitation can take place in a manner that does not pose a health threat. If you do not feel comfortable releasing a child for a visit, document your concerns and contact your case worker.

Questions about Care for Children

Should we still send the children to daycare if they are open? (posted 3-20-2020)

  • There are no prohibitions to sending children to daycare at this time. If you are keeping children at home, then please the notify the daycare center.

What if the school board determines to send kids back to school this academic year, but we as a foster family do not feel comfortable with this? What are you expecting of us foster parents? (posted 4/16/20)

  • We should defer to the state and the local Brevard County School Board for guidance on returning children to school. At this time, we have not received communication from BPS about school re-opening.

We received an email from Brevard Public Schools that said as of right now, the return date for school is May 11th. My question is, what if parents are uncomfortable sending the kids back school? What will the process be for kids we’ve received from other school districts? Transportation to and from? (posted 4/16/20)

  • At this time, we have not received communication from Brevard Public Schools about a re-open date. Once we have an expected re-open date from Brevard Public Schools, we will partner with caregivers, case management staff and school staff to ensure appropriate education decisions are made, including the appropriate school to attend.  We will work to return to a routine as quickly and safely as possible.

Questions about New Placements

Will the children being placed be tested? (posted 3-20-2020)

  • Brevard Family Partnership defers to healthcare professionals and the Florida Department of Health for criteria of testing youth in our system of care.  Please refer to the Florida Department of Health COVID-19 web page for further information.   https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/

Regarding 72 hour appointments—if the child is stable, can we avoid going into clinics? (posted 3-20-2020)

  • Medical screening is still required at this time.  We will advise foster parents if this changes.

Questions about Dependency Court

Will reunification be postponed due to cancellation of judicial reviews? (posted 3-20-2020)

  • There may be a delay in permanency and reunification due to court being cancelled; however, if all parties are agreeable to a child returning to the care of their parents, and on a case-by-case basis, the Family Allies team has the ability to work with Children’s Legal Services and the Judge to potentially walk through an order for reunification

Are Court Orders still being reviewed and approved? (posted 3/27/20) (revised 4/6/2020)

  • The court is hearing emergency motions only through May 29th.

Do you know when they are planning to return to court? (posted 4/6/2020)

  • The Florida Supreme Court has extended the postponement of nonessential court proceedings through May 29th.  The courts are open to administer justice; to preserve public safety; and to resolve public health issues on an expedited basis. Due to the nature of the pandemic, planning and response efforts involving the court may evolve from week to week, and day to day, based on the directives from the Florida Supreme Court and public health authorities.

Other Questions

Is Medical Foster Care part of the teams that are involved directly in decisions and process? (posted 3-20-2020)

  • Your input is always important and will be considered in decisions involving medically fragile children.

Is there an idea of when the travel ban for foster children will expire?  (posted 3-20-2020)

  • Case Management is currently practicing and following the guidelines set forth by the President and CDC to suspend any discretionary travel which includes travel for our children.  Travel considerations are being addressed on a case by case basis.

Can you provide any information regarding the Federal Government’s “Coronavirus Stimulus Package”? Can children in foster care be claimed by foster parents? (posted 3/27/20)

  • At this time, BFP has not received any additional information about the “Coronavirus Stimulus Package.”  If we receive information, we will share it with you; however, BFP cannot offer tax preparation advice.

Child(ren) that were in my care in 2019 are now residing with a different foster parent. What should I do if I receive stimulus money for those children? (posted 4/16/20)

  •  BFP cannot offer tax guidance; we recommend that you contact your tax advisor.

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