COVID-19 Testing for Foster Parents and Youth (18+)
Beginning in May, COVID-19 testing was made available to youth in care over the age of 18 and to foster parents.
Dr. Linda Dixon, the Department of Children and Families Administrator for Transitional Supports and Success said both core foster families and therapeutic foster care families can receive the testing, which is offered at a CVS location at 60 Sargent Drive, New Haven.
Families and social workers for youth in care over age 18 simply need to outreach to DCF.PROVIDER-TESTING@ct.gov. Dr. Dixon said there are 100 slots available daily, and the tests are administered the next day. She extended thanks to team members -- particularly Luz Lozano for coordinating the sign ups.
Dr. Dixon also credits Dr. Nicole Taylor, the Department's medical director, for her guidance and leadership in achieving wider access to testing so as to combat the spread of COVID-19. Dr. Taylor has been instrumental in conducting contact tracing when a DCF staff member, youth, foster parent or contracted provider has a positive diagnosis in order to assist the Department is both notifying and supporting those individuals.
Those persons who are experiencing symptoms are prioritized first with the second tier of prioritization being those individuals who are asymptomatic but are pregnant, have been exposed to an individual who has a positive COVID-19 diagnosis or have a compromised immune system.
Dr. Dixon said the testing is important for both the physical and emotional health of the youth and the families.
"We want to make sure the kids and the families who love them get the proper care they need," she said. "Of course, the testing also provides psychological re-assurance, which is so important -- especially now."
Dr. Dixon also recognized Department of Transportation Deputy Commissioner Garrett Eucallitto for facilitating the process. She also said the Department's Vinny Russo, the agency legislative program director, first raised the idea within the Department
Mr. Russo said the concept grew out of an effort by a number of agencies, including the Departments of Developmental Services, Mental Health and Addiction Services, and Corrections, to extend the testing of essential state employees to staff for private providers. That in turn led to the idea for extending testing to youth in care over 18 and foster parents.
"It opened the door for foster parents and kids over 18," he said. "It was a group of people problem solving together."