March 31, 2020

Wyden Presses Trump Administration to Provide Guidance to Child Welfare Agencies as Nation Combats Spread of COVID-19

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. today led colleagues in urging the Trump administration to issue national guidance for child welfare agencies that must still work to protect and support children during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The child welfare system is not currently designed for the social distancing recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The senators, therefore, urged the administration to issue comprehensive guidance to states and tribes to ensure youth have access to the full range of support services required to meet their educational, health, and housing needs. 

“As the nation rushes to address the COVID-19 pandemic, we are deeply concerned for the safety of over 450,000 children in the child welfare system. These youth are among the most vulnerable in our country and special care must be taken to assure their wellbeing,” Wyden wrote in a letter with nine colleagues to Vice President Mike Pence and Administration on Children, Youth and Families Commissioner Elizabeth Darling, 

The senators also demanded answers from the administration on how it will support kinship caregivers, many of whom are elderly relatives who face higher risk of developing complications from contracting COVID-19 and its plans to ensure child welfare agencies have an adequate and well-trained workforce and resources necessary to respond to the needs of families and children during this pandemic and its aftermath.

In addition to Wyden, the letter was also signed by Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Tom Carper, D-Del., Bob Casey, D-Pa., Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Michael Bennett, D-Colo.

A copy of the letter can be found here.