Adoption Services During COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

Introduction

Catholic Charities (CCGB) is committed to the health and well-being of our clients, staff, and community. In response to the COVID19 crisis, we have taken steps to prevent the spread of the virus based on CDC recommendations. Each day is different and we are called to respond as the situation continues to evolve and change. As of March 18th, CCGB is no longer seeing clients in person at our offices or conducting home visits. All appointments and contacts with clients will be conducted via phone, email, and video conferencing. CCGB staff will be contacting clients directly with upcoming appointments to discuss video conferencing options. Staff will continue to be available via phone and email.


Impact on Adoption Services

1. Post placement visits- Per guidelines established by the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, all post placement visits (domestic and international) will be conducted via video conferencing until further notice. In the event that staff has a concern for the safety of the child(ren) in the home, an in person home visit will occur. CCGB will have contact with all foster home licensed families who are in the post placement process via video conferencing every two weeks until further notice. No out of state travel for children that Catholic Charities has guardianship of. If you had previously discussed a planned trip out of state with your worker and that trip will occur before finalization, traveling out of state with an adoptive child is no longer permitted. Furthermore, we will not authorize stays in motels or attendance in large public gatherings until further notice. This extends to all children in legal risk placements as well.


2. General contacts with all waiting families- Staff will continue to have contact regularly with all families as usual.


3. Home study updates-All home study update home visits will occur via video conferencing. An in person safety evaluation of the home will occur as soon as possible after in person, home visits are authorized by CCGB and Wisconsin Department of Children and Families.


4. Home studies- If a home study is already in progress, all in person home study interviews will be rescheduled to video conferencing or postponed until in person and home visits are authorized by CCGB and Wisconsin Department of Children and Families.


5. Starting new home studies- CCGB will begin new agency infant, independent, relative and stepparent home studies upon requests for services. Home study application packets can begin being processed as well for intercountry adoptions; however actual interviews will not occur until in person visits are authorized by CCGB and Wisconsin Department of Children and Families as video conferencing is not an approved home study interview method that is accepted across jurisdictions. Furthermore, for intercountry adoption, USCIS will not accept home studies that were not completed with all in-person appointments. At this point in time, several entities that fingerprint adoption applicants have discontinued this service per CDC recommendations for social distancing. Without fingerprint based background checks, no home study, regardless of type of adoption, can be considered complete.


6. Wisconsin Adoption & Permanency Support Program Services[WIAPS]- WIAPS is suspending all in-person events and programming through June 1st, 2020. During this time, we are still available to support families and will be exploring options for online support, education and resources. We will also be able to be reached at our toll-free line (1-833-WIS-APSP) or by email at info@wisapsp.org


Going Forward

Staff will continue to be working either in the office or remotely. It is our commitment to maintain all services to the best of our ability however, we ask for your patience and understanding as we care both for our staff and those we serve.


If you have questions, please feel free to contact us. All of us at CCGB and the Diocese of Green Bay pray for the health and wellbeing of all during this time.



Sincerely,

Tara DeGrave, CAPSW

Child & Family Services Manager

tdegrave@gbdioc.org

920-272-8246