SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco officials say the pandemic is creating major problems for the city's foster care system.
Many former foster parents are opting out because of COVID.
"There are maybe health issues. They are at high risk because of age or underlining conditions. So they've put themselves on hold. They're not taking children," says Joan Miller, deputy director of SF Family & Children's Services.
Officials also say because children are not in school, teachers are not as able to spot potential trouble and report it to authorities. That means some children who would be eligible are not getting into foster care.
"A lot of what we are seeing is a more intense type of abuse or neglect. Because folks, they are home all the time, parents might be out of work," says Miller.
"It's been incredibly rewarding. And I do hope we are making a difference," says Michele Foy who, with her husband, cares for two foster children in their San Francisco home.
Foy says even though she and her husband have full-time jobs, they can care for their foster children. The city pays for daycare.
"I hope I can provide some stability in these uncertain times, while the parents, who love them very much, just need a little time to get back on their feet.
That is why the city has launched a campaign to attract new foster parents. It includes signs and social media. The goal is to keep a San Francisco foster child in San Francisco near family
"If you are looking to be the bridge and provide stability for a kid until they are united with their parents or placed in a loving home, then you are going to love it and be rewarded with lots of hugs, smiles, and kisses," says Foy.
Those considering becoming foster parents should go to the website www.foster-sf.org