COVID-19 pandemic making it difficult for Marin County foster children to find homes

MARIN, Calif. (KGO) -- The latest data form Marin County Children and Family Services shows that 42% of Marin County foster children are leaving the county.

According to the director of the county's Children and Family Services department, COVID-19 is making it harder to find homes for the children.

"Families have been very afraid to take an unknown child into their home for care because they don't know the amount of COVID exposure that child has had. And we haven't been able to assure them that children are COVID free due to the challenges with testing," said Bree Marchman, Marin County Division Director at Children and Family Services.

Marchman says the longer the stay-at-home order goes the less visibility social workers have to at-risk children.

"Having some schools reopen in Marin has been helpful in terms of hearing about more kids than we were April and May but that's a constant fear in the back of my mind," said Marchman.

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The Marin Foster Care Association says they are ready with resources to equip new families to foster. The process can take a month in some cases.

"An online application, background check and a class that involves 18 hours, and it's very easy to take and it's virtual. In-person interviews and then you're approved," explained Barbara Sabido, Executive Director of the Marin Foster Care Association.

Marin County residents, Marilyn and Anil Kochhar heard about the need and decided to foster.

"We met her and we loved her and she is here now, she came to us October 29," said foster parent Marilyn Kochhar.

"It's an opportunity and a time to share and we said we'll open the house because it gets kind of lonely as an empty nester," said Anil Kochhar.

Sabido says now more than ever what they need are, "More people to say yes to these kids."

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