As a ProKids volunteer for several years, Karen has relied on in-person visits to connect with the children she serves, who are mostly under 5. The pandemic has made her rely on other ways to connect.
“Shyra” is 3 and lives with her aunt, who is also caring for three other children. She was removed from her mother in the summer because of a number of issues involving abuse and neglect. At first, Karen was able to visit Shyra outdoors at her day care center, but as the weather got colder, she’s relied on keeping in touch with the aunt remotely.
That didn’t change the need for Karen’s ProKids advocacy.
“We had been wanting to make sure (Shyra) got a full assessment and hadn’t been able to make that happen,” Karen says. “But when we went to court in January remotely, the magistrate asked if there was anything I could add. I said we needed the assessment and that’s what is happening now.”
Karen has been encouraging the aunt to get more support as she raises four children, connecting her to a support group of other kinship care providers like herself. She contacts the day care center regularly to find out how Shyra is doing and is following up on medical records and the assessment.
“I think about her a lot,” Karen says. “I miss getting to see her like I would have, but I know that keeping safe in the pandemic is also so important. And being safe has not stopped our advocacy.”