Two of the largest urban foster care systems in the country went in opposite directions on a key question facing every community right now: Whether or not to continue family visits between foster youth and their parents or guardians as the nation retreats indoors to fight the spread of coronavirus.

The order raised immediate alarm among the attorneys representing the 34,000 children in L.A. County’s child welfare system. Leslie Starr Heimov, executive director of the Children’s Law Center of California, said she is concerned that foster youth will be denied social contact with their siblings and their parents.

“We recognize that not every face-to-face visit is going to go forward — that that would be unrealistic to expect during this time,” Heimov said. “But to completely suspend all court-ordered, in-person visitation is overreaching and not in line with the health directives provided by the health department, the governor, the county and the mayor.”

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