As DCFS suspends some foster care visits, parents turn to technology to stay connected

Parents of children in foster have turned to technology to stay in touch with their children after DCFS suspended some in-person visits to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Gladys Boyd, president of the nationally-recognized Illinois Foster Adoptive Parent Association, said it’s sad that parents can’t hug their children and pick them up and be with them in person.

For the most part, she said, the parents that members of her association work with have been understanding.

“We don’t want the children to get lonely. We all have FaceTime on our phones and we have been trying to call more,” she said.

Boyd said that when a child sees that the foster parent and the biological parents are getting along, it seems to make things work more smoothly.

“We make sure they see their parents on FaceTime … talk with them,” she said. “We let the parents see how their day is going.”

Boyd said that no matter how young the child is, FaceTime is helping.

“Babies know their mother’s voice,” she said. “When they see them on FaceTime, they know who they are,” she said.

Without in-person visits, parents want all the information they can get about what their child is doing, how they are playing and what they are eating.

“They can’t hug them, but they can see how the baby is growing and what their child looks like,” Boyd said.

As the statewide stay-at-home order continues, social workers said they are concerned about how the lack of in-person visits could affect parent-child bonds. When they decide if a child can be returned to the biological parent, the strength of that bond is the main factor in that decision.

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