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, continue to meet regularly to determine a course of action that ensures the health and safety of our clients, our caregivers, and our employees.
We were very quick in our move into remote work—doing our best to ensure our employees had the tools they needed to provide essential care as safely as possible during the early days of the virus’ spread into Virginia. We will move much more slowly as we transition to work after the stay-at-home order. We will be watching how the data changes as businesses and schools begin to re-open under the new guidelines. We are developing a phased approach to our transition back and will prioritize the safety of our employees, caregivers, and clients.
To read stories about how we are Adapting at DePaul, click here.
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. Our OPTIONS day support centers are closed until further notice. Our group homes, which have restricted visitors, will continue to operate around the clock to care for the residents there. While most of our work continues to be virtual, some unique cases require in-person services. Beginning October 1, supervised visitation, as well as specific training and counseling needs that can not be conducted virtually, will be offered in our offices. Our staff will continue to communicate with our service partners and clients who require these in-person services to meet their needs in the safest manner possible. Any person utilizing a critical service in our office will need to complete a self-assessment form before entering our building.
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, will be. Non-essential gatherings and travel have been canceled.
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’s use of 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. In addition to our on-call availability for current caregivers, our Community-Based Services program is also offering telehealth to current and new clients. Call the DePaul office nearest you to learn more.
Prospective caregivers needed: We anticipate a surge in the need for foster homes as children begin returning to school. Additionally, we anticipate an increased need for sponsored residential providers. We continue to work diligently to find and approve high-quality, loving homes for children entering the foster care system and individuals with developmental disabilities using every virtual tool at our disposal. Reach out to a regional recruiter to learn more about becoming a foster parent or sponsored residential provider.
Financial Help for Former Foster Youth: Former foster youth who are now between the ages of 18-27 may be eligible for COVID-19 financial relief. To learn more and see if you are eligible, visit www.dss.virginia.gov/fmf/.
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
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, DePaul Community Resources has been preparing for our services to be in high demand. Once children begin returning to school and social distancing requirements ease, we anticipate a surge in the need for our services—making your generosity and support more important than ever.
Your gift to DePaul during this time is ensuring that we can continue serving children and families in our community effectively during this especially challenging time. Foster care, adoption, community-based services, and developmental disabilities services will be critical as we address the needs of our community’s most vulnerable populations.
A worldwide pandemic touches everyone and presents an opportunity to come together as one powerful force. With your help, we have the power to improve lives.
- 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.