We are a group of advocates, attorneys, and child welfare experts who have come together to help ensure the Commonwealth responds effectively to the urgent needs of the children, youth, and families involved in the MA child welfare system affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact moving forward. Our advocacy is informed by those with lived experience and endeavors to reflect the full diversity of those involved with the MA child welfare system.
- Urges timely and publicly available Department of Children and Families (DCF) crisis reporting of critical data and information regarding the greater than 47,000 children and youth involved with DCF (10,000 in foster care; 37,000 involved with DCF)
- Calls on DCF to take urgent action to address gaps in the system that are putting children, youth, and families at increased risk during the pandemic
- Collaborates with other advocates, legislators, OCA, DCF, the Administration, and the public to ensure guidance and services are provided quickly, effectively and efficiently
The Coalition is urging action on several critical issues, including:
- Transparent COVID-19 crisis data reporting and accountability
- A moratorium on case closures and ongoing support for transition-age youth
- Meaningful visitation between children, parents and siblings
- Placement stability and the well-being of children in foster care and group homes
- Access to technology for children and families to ensure access to education and ongoing contact
- Continued progress on ongoing cases, including reunifications
The Coalition envisions a child welfare system that acts quickly to address known gaps and collects vital data and information to inform crisis guidance and ongoing services to ensure the Massachusetts child welfare system meets the needs of children, youth, and families for safety, stability, and well being during the pandemic and going forward.
The Massachusetts Child Welfare / COVID-19 Coalition is comprised of the following organizations:
Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts | Citizens for Juvenile Justice | Disability Law Center | Freitas & Freitas LLP | Friends of Children | GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders | Greater Boston Legal Services | Massachusetts Advocates for Children | Massachusetts Law Reform Institute | Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee | More Than Words