image shows text that reads: safe and equitable school reopening for families

Family Voices United asked current and former foster youth, parents, and kinship and relative caregivers: 

What is needed to ensure school reopenings are safe and equitable for children and families who are most impacted by COVID-19?”

Some key themes that came out of the responses we received to this question:

  • Prioritizing the social-emotional well-being of students and families who are returning back to school. 

  • Reducing class sizes for in-person learning and providing equal access to technology platforms to support families engaging in online learning 

  • Dedicated staff capacity to develop partnerships with families and their communities to address COVID impact and needs, and provide ongoing communication and support. 

  • Tracking systems to identify the spread, infection rate, and risk of COVID-19 on children participating in in-person learning.

How to use this paper: 

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed alarming inequalities in our educational system from technology access to critical support families need to support their children from housing to healthcare. As schools reopen whether in person or continue in remote learning (or somewhere in between), reopening is an opportunity to re-examine, transform, and improve our education system to center our most vulnerable families and students. The voices of kinship caregivers, birth parents, current and former foster youth will provide insight to Policymakers and administrators on their needs, strategies, and supports needed to reopen to prioritize the social, mental, and physical safety during the reopening processIf you are interested in using the quotes or perspective contained in this document or if you would like to bring young people, parents, and relative caregivers to your event or project, email the Family Voices United team at or call 503.717.1552.