Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation published the paper Lessons from COVID-19: The Importance of Meaningful Contact between Foster Youth and Parents.

“During the early days of COVID-19, child welfare agencies and courts with jurisdiction over child protection cases suspended in-person visitation between children and parents and postponed important reunification hearings,” said Andrew Brown, distinguished senior fellow of child and family policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “While the decision to err on the side of caution in the early days of the pandemic is understandable, the restrictions negatively impact children in foster care and their families. Moreover, in many parts of the country, the restrictions remain in place, further exacerbating the harm.”

Research shows that frequent contact with parents is critical for healthy child development, and the involuntary separation of children from their parents, even if only for a short time, causes emotional distress.

“Childhood relationships between parent and child are critical for healthy development, from academic performance to behavioral health,” said Charissa Huntzinger, campaign director for the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Government for the People campaign. “Regular and healthy visitation not only benefits youth in care but also has an effect on family reunification and the amount of time a child must spend in foster care. Now that we are better informed about how COVID-19 is spread, in-person visitations should be reinstated with appropriate health protocols.”

To read the paper in full, please visit: