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DCFS: Staff member stays with children after foster parents tests positive for COVID-19

A longtime staff member of Arkansas DCFS stayed in a ‘Quarantine House’ for two weeks with two children after their foster parents tested positive for COVID-19.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — “Today’s story is just another example of how our staff goes above and beyond what they would do anyway, which is already fantastic,” says DCFS Communications Specialist Keith Metz.

The staff member has worked with DCFS for 27 years. She had been picking up the children from their foster home and taking them to school, but one morning the children didn’t come outside.

She called and asked the foster mother what was holding the children up and learned that she was in the hospital with COVID-19. The children were quarantining at home with the foster father due to the mother’s positive test.

The next day the staff member called to check on the foster mother, and she learned that the foster father was now hospitalized with COVID-19 as well.

“This could have meant that the children would have to change foster homes with little to no warning and no time to adjust, which we don’t want to happen,” says Metz.

The staff member wanted to do everything she could to keep the children safe and stable, so she put on her personal protective equipment and took the children to get tested for COVID-19. Unfortunately, the children tested positive as well.

When Metz asked the staff member how she felt about this, she said, “I believe this job is more than a job for me. It is a ministry. This is what I love to do, and I was not about to leave these boys in their time of need.”

The staff member agreed to stay with the children in a ‘Quarantine House’ location because she had already been around them.

 Partners across the state have freed up spaces in their organizations for DCFS to use to take care of children who need to be quarantined.

“Why risk anyone else?” said the staff member. “I’ll be happy to do it.”

“That is what our guys do: they sacrifice so much to care for these families and these kids to give them what they need to get better and stronger, and this is just another example of that,” said Metz.

Visit https://humanservices.arkansas.gov/about-dhs/dcfs to learn more.

Credit: Division of Children & Family Services