LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Becoming a foster parent is an even harder endeavor during a pandemic, but local foster care agencies say finding homes for children in need is more important than ever.

Kay Ramsey with Bethany Christian Services in Riverside says with schools closed to slow the spread of coronavirus, children have lost their first line of defense from an abusive home. In those homes, orders to stay home and skyrocketing joblessness are leading to an increase of stress and mental illness that could turn into substance abuse or child neglect.

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“Without those teachers, without those social workers seeing them…we won’t know until the after effects or until the police are called in,” Ramsey said.

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In his Monday briefing, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state would provide more funding for laptops and cell phones to support the foster care system during the pandemic.

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Bethany Christian Center says it is still holding virtual information sessions for those interested in becoming foster parents and virtual training for families to become licensed foster parents. Visit bethany.org/events for a list of upcoming foster care information sessions or call 1-800-BETHANY.