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AAP: Safe, in-person visits important for children in foster care during pandemic :

July 27, 2020

Editor's note: This guidance was updated Jan. 25, 2021. Please visit the latest news on COVID-19, visit

The AAP has released new interim guidance on visitations and medical care for children in foster care or kinship care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Guidance for Children and Families Involved with the Child Welfare System During the COVID-19 Pandemic” is available at

The AAP “affirms that a stable home and caregiver are important to nurturing a child’s development and preventing trauma that can affect a child across the lifespan,” the AAP states. “This guidance is designed to support the continuation and improvement of that critical work so that all children and families may flourish.”

The AAP notes the need to keep children in foster care from feeling even more isolated than they did before the pandemic and to address underlying racial and socioeconomic disparities in foster care.

Children in the child welfare system should continue to have visitation with parents and siblings as well as child welfare professionals. These visits should take place in person whenever possible, and child welfare workers should keep a log of everyone present. Everyone involved should be screened for COVID-19 the day before, wash their hands frequently and wear cloth or disposable face coverings (except for children under age 2 or those with restricted breathing). Physical distancing is strongly recommended but may be difficult to enforce. Precautions are especially important for anyone considered to be at high risk, according to the guidance.

Visits ideally should take place outside. Indoor locations and vehicles should be cleaned thoroughly before and after a visit. Virtual visits also can help keep children connected to their families when in-person visits cannot occur safely.

If a child tests positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection or has been exposed, their caretaker should contact the child’s primary care physician or a local pediatric health care provider immediately. Children should be kept with their families whenever possible but may need isolation or quarantine and close monitoring. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides guidance on caring for someone who is sick at home at

Pediatricians can help by working with foster and kinship families as well as local child welfare agencies to provide consultation, education and support.

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