This article was originally published here
Child Youth Serv Rev. 2022 Aug;139:106535. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2022.106535. Epub 2022 May 13.
The measures implemented to contain the COVID-19 pandemic profoundly affected the lives of children and families all around the world, probably affecting children’s psychosocial well-being. The negative consequences of lockdowns are presumed to hit even harder on vulnerable groups such as foster children who already struggle with their psychosocial well-being in normal circumstances and who face specific challenges during lockdowns such as: additional help that is no longer available or only offered digitally and physical contact with birth parents that is forbidden. Nevertheless, some scholars point to the positive side of lockdowns (e.g.: relief due to closure of schools). This study aims to asses the psychosocial well-being of Flemish foster children residing in their foster homes during the COVID-19 lockdown and the factors that are associated with the change in their psychosocial well-being. 888 foster parents reported on the psychosocial well-being of just as many foster children through the Brief Assessment Checklist for Children and Adolescents. The COVID-19 lockdown was not associated with a decreased psychosocial well-being of Flemish foster children residing in their foster homes during the lockdown. Foster parents reported a slight improvement in their relationship with their foster child during the lockdown which points to a positive consequence of the lockdown. In addition, this improvement was positively associated with an increased psychosocial well-being during adverse circumstances and should therefore be enhanced. The type and amount of contact with birth parents is significantly associated with foster children’s changed psychosocial well-being during the lockdown. Foster parents who reported an increase in alternative contact (e.g., (video)calls and messages) between their foster child and his/her birth parent(s) during the lockdown, also reported an increase in their foster child’s psychosocial well-being during that period.