Hurricane Harvey Has Displaced Foster Children, Created A ‘Capacity Crisis’

Hurricane Harvey had a disastrous effect on Texas and surrounding areas. The news covered the horrific event and the impact Hurricane Harvey left. But an affected population many didn’t think about was the children in foster care. Thousands of children in care were displaced, as well as families striving to become foster parents. There was already a shortage of foster care families, but this storm just intensified the need. Many families had to put their desire to help children on hold while they rebuild their lives and homes.

Agencies around the state are teaming up to work together to provide what is needed for these children. According to Texas public radio, there were more than 2,200 children in the Texas foster care system residing in Harris County, the county most affected by Hurricane Harvey. Over half of those children were forced to relocate as a result of the storm.

Not only did Harvey affect the foster families and children, it also affected the agencies and caseworkers providing care to those families. There are regulations on how often children in care are seen by their caseworkers. According to a The Texas Tribune, the flooding has hindered this for workers, but they are doing their best to reach the families and even support them with basic necessity supplies.

On top of children in foster care, the state’s Child and Protective Services also needs to support and follow up on abuse and neglect supports. More severe reports are needed to be seen within 24 hours. But again, the flooding, displacement of families has created a large hindrance. The Tribune reported Texas CASA is anticipating a “capacity crisis” for the already-stressed state foster care system.