Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he has approved the allocation of $1 million from the state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund, which utilizes federal CARES Act funding, to provide supplemental aid to foster parents for the extraordinary costs associated with caring for more than 3,600 children in state care during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our foster parents do a fantastic job with children in state care,” Governor Lamont said. “During the pandemic, many foster parents faced additional responsibilities of caring for children, many of whom are receiving school services remotely and have been unable to access other supports. That clearly warranted an additional reimbursement in recognition of efforts that go beyond the rigorous demands we make of foster parents on a regular basis.”
Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes said that foster and adoptive parents form the backbone of the child welfare system in Connecticut.
“We ask so much of our foster families as they love, nurture and care for our children during such a critical time in their lives,” Commissioner Dorantes said. “This support also extends to the connections foster parents make with the families of the children placed into their homes – leading towards quicker and successful reunification. During the last calendar year, over 782 children were successfully reunified with their parents. But during the pandemic, foster parents did even more – increased virtual visits with the children's families, supporting remote learning, which could include children placed from multiple districts with varying schedules and bringing children into their home without knowing their health status. Foster families are heroes just like other essential workers we cannot do without.”
These efforts are also extended to therapeutic foster care providers who often have children with complex behavioral needs placed into their families.
Commissioner Dorantes made the announcement about the supplemental aid this morning while speaking at the annual conference of the Connecticut Alliance of Foster and Adoptive Families, which this year is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The nonprofit organization provides support, training, and advocacy for foster, adoptive, and kinship caregivers; and works in partnership with child welfare professionals and community partners, leading to stronger and more stable placements of children.
Last month, DCF received $1.1 million in Adoption Incentive federal grant dollars for success in finalizing 663 adoptions for children from foster care. This funding is being used for infrastructure, technology, consultants, training, and other efforts leading to the recruitment of new foster and adoptive families, as well as addressing the barriers to permanency for children.
Anyone in Connecticut who is interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent should contact 1-888-KIDHERO for information.