During this COVID-19 pandemic, our highest priorities are the safety of our clients and caregivers, our continued ability to provide core and essential services to those in our care, and our support of our employees. Our leadership teams, including executives, directors, human resources, and risk management staff, as well as our external partners, have convened multiple times over the past days and weeks to determine a course of action that ensures the health and safety of our clients, our caregivers, and our employees.
Monitoring: DePaul is monitoring the ever-changing situation. We are utilizing reliable sources of information from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). We are in close contact with our regulatory and licensing bodies.
Office/staff availability: To best support you, we need to maintain a safe and healthy work environment for our team. Therefore, our DePaul team members are practicing responsible social distancing and working remotely beginning Wednesday, March 25. Our OPTIONS day support centers are closed effective March 18th until further notice. Day support case managers are checking in regularly by phone with our participants to make sure they’re doing ok. Our group homes, which have restricted visitors, will continue to operate around the clock to care for the residents there.
Work-related travel, meetings, non-essential gatherings, and trainings: At this time, our priority will be on essential, client-facing services. Meetings and trainings that can be done remotely or that can be postponed, will be. Non-essential gatherings scheduled in the coming 60 days will be postponed as will non-essential travel. Provisions have been made to alleviate the burden of expiring trainings for staff and/or caregivers.
Home visits: DePaul is following the guidance of our regulatory and licensing bodies. We are working to conduct home visits that minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 while also allowing us to maintain our vital connections to those we serve. Caseworkers are in contact with caregivers to assess the risk factors, needs, and available technology of each caregiver.
Worker availability and on-call: With the closing of schools and our organization exploring remote work options, a client/caregiver’s assigned caseworker may not always be available. The on-call line remains available to clients/caregivers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and a caseworker will always be available to respond. Due to the fluidity of this situation, we are planning for the possibility of increased crisis calls.
Support in times of crisis: This time of fear and uncertainty can add to the complexities of the work of our caregivers. Children, families, and individuals, especially those who have experienced past trauma, may seek additional reassurance or may regress in behaviors that have been improving. Our caseworkers are committed to helping our clients and caregivers navigate this new experience. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has created a resource that many children, families, and individuals may find helpful.
To all our partners—employees, caregivers, clients, referral sources, licensing bodies, donors, volunteers—we are grateful for your flexibility and understanding as we navigate the unknowns and complexities of this unprecedented public health issue. We will continue to be here for you under these difficult circumstances, helping and supporting one another as we go. We are committed to planning well, relying on good guidance and one another, executing well, and learning lessons as we go. Thank you for your ongoing trust in us.
These plans are fluid and subject to change with limited notice.
How You Can Help
DePaul Community Resources is in high demand with requests for help – and we are bracing for more demand than we can meet.
- The additional expenditures related to the pandemic and the decline in our day service revenue means that we will experience significant financial impact from this crisis. Your gift will help us respond quickly without jeopardizing our mission further.
- COVID-19 has closed our schools and is affecting families who were already struggling. Children are at higher risk for abuse, especially those for whom our schools were a safe haven and are now unprotected. Children whose families are hospitalized as a result of illness may be left without safe caregivers. Children who suffer from mental health struggles are without access to their regular school counselors. And our neighbors with disabilities who have counted on our day centers are left without support and meaningful engagement due to mandatory closures. Opening your heart and home to an individual in need is more important now than ever.