COVID19 Impact On Foster Families Survey Results
The Foster Care Association of Western Australia (FCAWA) understands that COVID19 has had a significant impact on many family and general carer’s households across WA. Due to the nature of the pandemic, the real length and breadth of the impact is unknown and unfortunately, with no end in sight, it is evident that the impact will be ongoing.
From the onset of COVID19, FCAWA has been working tirelessly in the background to support and relieve the day to day additional placement stressors felt by carers. We have been fiercely canvassing for a one-off COVID19 Hardship Payment for all carers, in line with that received by carers in the Eastern States. We have strongly emphasised the need for all school aged children in care to have access to educational home schooling tools such as iPads. And we have also consulted with The Department Of Communities to ensure all carers were given clear, consistent, and current updates around home schooling and face to face contact arrangements, in line with Government Health Guidelines and Recommendations.
We received a tremendous response to our COVID19 Impact On Foster Families Survey and really appreciate the time our carers took to complete this for us. Please click on the link below to view the Survey Results.
Maintaining Connections For Children In Care During COVID-19
During the COVID-19 pandemic, some children in care are likely to experience an increase in physical distance from family, friends and other people of significance to them. It is essential that physical distance does not mean social disconnection for children. They will require the support of their loved ones more than ever and proactive and creative strategies should be used to support their connections during this time.
Strategies used to support and promote connections may be different to normal to comply with Department of Health advice and the Closure and Restrictions (Limit the Spread) Directions and Prohibited Gatherings Directions in relation to physical distancing and group gatherings. It is important that all strategies maintain the health and safety of everyone involved and in doing so, face-to-face contact between children in care, their family and significant people may not be possible and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Methods of contact or connection where it is not possible for face-to-face contact to occur may include:
- Video services such as FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp and Hangouts.
- Telephone calls.
- Photo sharing, including photo sharing apps.
- Family music playlists to share songs with each other.
- Gaming apps that can support siblings playing computer games together.
- Recording family reading stories, singing songs etc for children to listen to at any time.
- Letter writing or emails.
There may be circumstances where planned, face-to-face contact is considered to be in the best interests of the child, in line with the child’s health, safety and wellbeing and the health and safety of others. Face-to-face contact will be assessed on an individual, case-by-case basis and will be based on:
- What is in the best interest of the child.
- The current Department of Health advice and the Closure and Restrictions (Limit the Spread) Directions and Prohibited Gatherings Directions in relation to social distancing and group gatherings. i.e. Can face-to-face contact occur in accordance with the current advice?
- The potential health risks posed to anybody involved if the face-to-face contact proceeds.
- The potential impact on the child’s wellbeing if the face-to-face contact does not occur.
- If the child has a medical condition that may place them at increased risk if they contract COVID-19.
- If there is a member or members of the carer or family’s household who have a medical condition that may place them at higher risk if they contract COVID-19.
- If the carer or families’ household may have members within the ‘vulnerable cohort’ for COVID-19 e.g. Aboriginal and over 50 years old, non-Aboriginal and over 60 years old.
Everyone involved in fact-to-face contact has a responsibility to adhere to good hygiene to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
Departmental decisions about fact-to-face contact will be reviewed regularly, as new information becomes available in this changing environment.