This week on our Advocate Virtual Forum, we share report findings and facilitate conversations on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the child welfare system. In the spring, Kentucky Youth Advocates, in partnership with Casey Family Programs, set out to get a better understanding of how the public health crisis was impacting young people who are foster or kinship alumni, biological parents, kinship caregivers, foster parents, and service providers that interact with the child welfare system through a series of interviews, focus groups, and online surveys. While each group experienced their own unique challenges, themes were identified in the new report, COVID-19 Impacts on the Kentucky Child Welfare Community: A Public Health Crisis Meets a Vulnerable System.

Forum speakers and panelists include: Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman; Eric Friedlander, Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services; Honorable Debra Hembree Lambert, Kentucky Supreme Court Justice; Marta Miranda-Straub, Commissioner for the Department for Community Based Services; state Senator Whitney Westerfield; state Representative Joni Jenkins; Tyler Hunter, Voices of the Commonwealth; Carmel Cline, Kentucky START program; Norma Hatfield, Kinship Families Coalition of Kentucky and CASA of the Heartland; and, Michelle Sanborn, Children’s Alliance.