Child Welfare: Pandemic Posed Challenges, but Also Created Opportunities for Agencies to Enhance Future Operations, Report to Congressional Committees [open pdf - 1MB]
From the Highlights: "The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has raised concerns about the welfare of children and disruptions to child welfare services. This work was conducted as part of GAO's [Government Accountability Office's] COVID-19 monitoring and oversight responsibilities under the CARES [Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security] Act. It examines (1) challenges child welfare agencies reported as a result of the pandemic; (2) actions these agencies reported taking to respond to challenges, including using the additional funds and other supports provided by HHS; and (3) practices agencies reported they may continue based on what they learned during the pandemic. GAO interviewed and gathered information from officials at HHS [Health and Human Services]; five state and 10 local child welfare agencies in California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas, selected for factors such as high numbers of children in foster care and confirmed COVID-19 cases; and eight national organizations with child welfare expertise. GAO also reviewed relevant federal laws, regulations, and HHS guidance; analyzed reports states submitted to HHS in July 2020 about their plans for using CARES Act funds; and conducted a survey between December 2020 and February 2021 of child welfare administrators in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands (referred to as states)."
Government Accountability Office: https://www.gao.gov/