How the Houston foster care system has been affected by the pandemic

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everything in some way, including the Houston foster care system.

"And so when COVID hit, our routine and normal changed slightly," Jennifer Moffett, a foster parent with Depelchin Children's Center said.

Moffett is a wife and mom of two, and in 2019, her family grew with the addition of a then-6-day-old baby boy.

Their now-19-month-old foster child has been with them ever since.

"A lot of the visits are virtual, whether that's FaceTime or Zoom, and all the different agencies," Moffett said.

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When Andi and Thomas realized the baby they were adopting had 4 other siblings in foster care, they wanted to make sure they stayed together.



The family is still moving through the foster process, but of course, things are different because of the pandemic

"That was an adjustment for him, to see that mask on our face," Moffett said.

Her two older children shifted to virtual learning, and some of the foster care check-ins did too.

"Visitation for him is virtual, a toddler was running around the living room," she described.

Things like family check-ins and even information sessions had to go entirely virtual.

Interestingly, the children's center says it saw a spike in interest in becoming foster parents during the start of the pandemic. They say more families started the process and took online classes.

However, the number of parents that fully completed the training and requirements stayed about the same.

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Americans who are trying to complete international adoptions have urged the U.S. government to expedite their children's visas.



"We had to take special precautions because some of the check-ins had to be in person from a compliance standpoint," Moffett explained.

Jennifer says they had to be patient with the pause in the court system, sharing they eventually would like to adopt. But for the time being, they're focused on family.

"We just have to make sure we put the child first and foremost," she said.

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