Schools being open is imperative for our country's vulnerable youth.
Roughly 5 million children in the USA experience domestic violence in their own home each year. We know those numbers are increasing since children are isolated at home. For millions of children, school is their only place of safety each day. In addition, teachers act as mandated reporters and can report any signs of abuse they might see, thus intervening. For many children in foster care, they are removed from dangerous environments only after a teacher has reported the abuse they have witnessed.
When considering in person services, many service providers have wondered what the safe, ethical and socially responsible thing to do is . We believe that keeping doors open and services running is imperative, now more than ever. With one-on-one sessions, open spaces, sanitization and masks there is definitely a safe way to make sure children still get to have at least one stable, healthy realationship.
Children who have endured trauma, under stressful, unreliable circumstances, have a higher tendency to regress in their social, emotional and behavioral progress. Emotional and behavior flare ups are bound to happen anyway, but in isolation this is exacerbated. With therapy sessions and other services all going virtual, children and families are lacking the very important human interaction and external input that we all need. Sure, virtual was good enough, in the beginning, but we are bound to see more dysregulation, more parents feeling even more isolated than they already were, more disruptions of placements, and more children without homes, because less and less foster placements are willing to take in more children during the pandemic.
Let's reopen safe, but lets reopen. Let's be a place children and families can rely on to connect, engage, and have fun outside as we develop critical life skills and give families a much needed break. The child's future could depend on it.