Decisions by Texas child welfare courts and officials to suspend visitation and postpone reunification hearings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected children in foster care.

Key points:

  • Frequent contact with parents is critical for healthy child development.
  • A lack of enforceable statutory requirements in Texas for the frequency and timing of visitation contributed to the denial of contact between foster youth and their families.
  • Court hearings in which decisions concerning the reunification of foster youth with their families are taken should be considered essential.