To Do Better by Kids, Build a Bigger Bench of Loving, Caring, Supportive Adults

Posted May 6, 2020, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Foster parent with two children

May is National Foster Care Month. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, child welfare systems around the country have an extraordinary opportunity to strengthen how they support families before, during and after crisis. To help highlight the importance of supporting children and youth in foster care, as well as their families, the Annie E. Casey Foundation has partnered with the U.S. Children’s Bureau to bring attention to the critical role of all concerned adults — parents, foster parents, kinship caregivers, mentors and others — to love and care for kids.

“While the COVID-19 crisis has been a disrupter of major proportions, it also provides an opportunity to remake systems and relationships to do better by young people,” Sandra Gasca-Gonzalez, vice president of Casey’s Center for Systems Innovation, writes in one of three articles penned by Casey staff, consultants and youth advisers in this month’s edition of the Children’s Bureau Express.

The three Casey-produced articles are:

To Do Better by Kids, Build a Bigger Bench of Loving, Caring, Supportive Adults
In this piece, Gasca-Gonzalez underscores the opportunity and imperative to redefine the role of foster parents and kinship caregivers as resources to the entire family — children and parents alike — to help strengthen overall child and family well-being while ensuring kids are safe.

Putting Ethan First: A Reunification Story
Denise Goodman, a longtime Casey consultant and now a senior fellow at Case Commons, shares a reunification story, through an interview with Ethan’s mother, foster parents and social worker that highlights the collective power of loving adults who worked together to care for a young person. This article also features several older youth who share their insights about the benefits of having a wide net of supportive adults in their lives.

To Benefit Children and Teens, Build Relationships Between Birth and Foster Parents
Goodman is not only an expert on foster care recruitment, retention and training but also a former foster parent of teenagers. This article highlights her experiences as a child welfare professional and a foster parent, and how they influenced her work to improve the lives of children and families.

Learn more about child welfare systems and COVID-19

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