We hope you are all staying healthy and informed with accurate information regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The rapidly changing circumstances surrounding COVID-19 have affected the education, work, and social schedules of all Ventura County residents. As always, Ventura County Children and Family Services is committed to the safety and well-being of children and families along with our community partners and staff.
Children and Family Services is continuing essential operations during regularly scheduled business hours and after hours on our child abuse hotline. Our staff are taking all precautions possible in our work with children and families. We are daily assessing changing circumstances in our county and state. To support social distancing, all Ventura County government buildings have been closed to the public until at least March 31. We have cancelled in-person orientation, trainings, and CPR classes until further notice. We are offering accommodations for pre-service training on a priority basis. Please contact the pre-service training scheduler at Kids and Families together to discuss accommodations: (805) 643-1446 x 151. Please go to homeswithheartvc.org/updates for the most recent CFS updates on COVID-19.
We strongly encourage caregivers to follow medical advice about safety practices such as handwashing, sanitizing frequently touched surfaces, and social distancing as much as possible. If you been diagnosed with COVID-19, been advised by a medical professional to quarantine, or experienced other significant disruption from the COVID-19, please contact your social worker immediately and also leave a message on the Caregiver Disaster Hotline: 1-877-882-9111. For questions and support, please reach out to the resources below:
- VC Emergency provides updates about the public health emergency and links to prevention and preparedness information: www.vcemergency.com/.
- 2-1-1 Ventura County links people to resources and information: dial 2-1-1 or 800-339-9597 or text 211211. For information specific to COVID-19, text “COVID19” to 211211.
- California Employment Development Department answers questions about unemployment, disability, and paid family medical leave eligibility: edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019/faqs.htm.
- Peer Partner Educators (PPE) and Retention Community Services Coordinators (CSC) can help with questions about quality caregiving and the child welfare system: If you are not sure who your assigned PPE or CSC is, call 805-654-3220 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Child Abuse Hotline continues to receive calls regarding suspected child abuse and neglect: 805-654-3200.
- If you are applying to be a resource family, please contact Homes with Heart for general guidance: 805-654-3220 and email@example.com.
- If you are an approved resource family, please contact your RFA social worker and/or the Child’s Social Worker for general guidance. You can also contact management staff:
- Michelle Calder, Program Manager, Placement/CFT/Recruitment/Retention, 805-385-8562
- Teresa Stanley, Program Manager, Resource Family Approval, 805-654-3251
- Renee Lodder, Program Manager, Neighbors Together/ER/Ongoing, 805-240-2722
- Jaci Johnson, Program Coordinator, Recruitment, 805-240-2750
- Katie Rhodes, Program Coordinator, Retention, 805-240-2717
Thank you for opening up your homes and hearts to children in need of care. We appreciate you as caregivers and hope that you stay safe and well.
– Homes with Heart VC Team
A local health emergency has been declared in Ventura County due to the spread of novel coronavirus. All Human Services Agency sites are closed to the public through March 31, due to the COVID-19 health emergency. Our priority is to help keep our clients and staff safe without disruption to applications for services or requirements for benefits. We’re still available to meet your essential service needs online, by phone, and drop-off/mail-in services at vchsa.org and (866) 904-9362. We’re in this together!
Read on for information about accessing HSA services from home, applying for Unemployment Insurance benefits online, and accessing helpful community resources remotely.
PREVENTION & SOCIAL DISTANCING
Your well-being is our priority, and we understand you may not be able to leave home. Please remember that you can access many of our services remotely, including:
- Applying for CalFresh or reporting changes to income for CalFresh
- Applying for Medi-Cal or reporting changes to your income for Medi-Cal
- Reviewing information for IHSS providers
- Conducting a job search
Help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases like COVID-19 by applying the following guidance to your everyday activities:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
GETTING HELP WHEN YOU’RE SICK
What should you do if you feel sick? Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough, shortness of breath and may appear two to 14 days after exposure. If you develop symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19, please keep in mind the following guidance:
- Call your healthcare provider before going in and seeking care.
- Stay home even if your symptoms are mild. Most people will get better with rest, so there is usually no need to see a doctor if you have mild symptoms. Treating mild symptoms at home until you’re well will protect you and help stop the spread of any virus you may have.
- If you need HSA services or assistance, we are still available to meet your essential service needs online, by phone, and drop-off/mail-in services at vchsa.org and (866) 904-9362.
CORONAVIRUS REMOTE SUPPORT
The following is a list of remote services that may be of interest to clients and residents countywide while responding to the coronavirus. For additional resources in Ventura County please visit www.ventura.org.
Benefits for Impacted Employees
EDD provides a variety of support services to individuals affected by COVID-19 in California, including benefits for workers who are sick or quarantined, caregiving for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19, missing word due to caring for a child due to school closures, etc.
Questions and Answers About COVID-19 and the Family and Medical Leave Act
Addresses questions such as which employees are eligible to take FMLA leave, what legal responsibility employers have to allow parents or care givers time off and under what circumstances employers may lay off employees, among others. www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fmla/pandemic
A list of grants and other emergency resources for artists working in all disciplines to help deal with cancelled income and other impacts of COVID-19.
Google Making Premium Version of its Video Chat Tool Free Until July
FOOD & BASIC NEEDS
Meals for Children
Ventura County Schools Providing Meals for Children up to 18 Years of Age During COVID-19 Closures
Free Broadband and Wi-Fi Access
Free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households. Learn More
SCE Offers Bill Response to COVID-19 Emergency
Southern California Edison announced that it is suspending service disconnections for nonpayment and waiving late fees, effective immediately, for residential and business customers impacted by the COVID-19 emergency. For more information, visit sce.com/billhelp.
SoCal Gas Suspending Service Disconnection and Offering Assistance with Bills for those Impacted by COVID-19
Comcast to Offer Free Internet to Low-Income Families
Low-income families in the Comcast service area can sign up for 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service, which is normally available to all qualified low-income households for $9.95/month.
To sign up, applicants can simply visit www.internetessentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376 (English) and 1-855-765-6995 (Spanish).
Free Low-income Internet from Cox
Cox is offering the first month of its low-income internet program, Connect2Compete, for free. The internet service is also providing free phone and remote desktop support for technical support during that time. www.cox.com/residential/internet/connect2compete/covid-19-response
Major Internet Providers Have Pledged to “Keep Americans Connected”
Major internet providers have agreed for the next 60 days not to cancel service for consumers who cannot pay their bills due to coronavirus disruptions. These include: AT&T, CenturyLink, Cox, Frontier, Mediacom, Spectrum, Verizon, Xfinity and Windstream, among others. www.cnet.com
COMMUNICATION- Virtual Visitation
How to guides and technical assistance for using Skype, WhatsApp and ZOOM.
Education Companies Offering Free Subscriptions
Listing of links to companies temporarily offering free services due to school closings for students to collaborate, communicate, learn, share and recreate online. docs.google.com/spreadsheets
Free Learning Resources When Coronavirus Closes Schools
Stories and Activities for Kids (plus Resources to Help Them with Anxiety)
Sparkle stories has put together a package of free stories and links to fun activities for stuck-at-home families everywhere, plus resources to help with fear and anxiety around COVID-19.
STEM activities for kids from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Resources for Artists
COVID-19 or Other Public Health Emergencies and the Family and Medical Leave Act Q&A
Famous Museums Offer Virtual Tours
Museums and galleries around the world to bring anyone and everyone virtual tours and online exhibits of some of the most famous museums around the world.
Operas to Stream for Free
The Metropolitan Opera will begin free “Nightly Met Opera Streams” offering a different complete operatic gem from their collection of HD presentations from the past 14 years. www.vulture.com
Spanish Children’s Stories
Well-known children’s stories translated into Spanish and spoken by a native Spanish speaker. Great for kids and adults too! Read along in Spanish or English. www.thespanishexperiment.com/stories
Stories for Children in Times of Trouble
Examples and guidance for stories, especially stories that you create yourself to help your kids cope with unexpected changes in their daily lives. childrengrowing.com
Helping Children Cope with Emergencies
Talking to Children About COVID-19: A Parent Resource
Managing Stress and Anxiety due to COVID-19
Staying Mentally Healthy During COVID-19
Tips, resources and free Crisis Text Line at giveanhour.org/coronavirus. The Crisis Text Line is a 24/7 and is free and confidential. If you’re feeling anxious and need someone to talk to, text SIGNS to 741741.
Current Status of Ventura County Senior Centers and Senior Nutrition Program Meal Sites
The Area Agency on Aging has compiled a list of the status of Ventura County Senior Centers and Senior Nutrition Program Meal Sites: www.vcaaa.org/vcaaa-update-3-13-2020-covid-19
Special Shopping Hours for Seniors
Vallarta Supermarkets – These stores will be opening early for older adults, people with disabilities, and pregnant women to have exclusive access to groceries. This service will be from 7 a.m. – 8 a.m. daily. Locations are 2690 E. Vineyard Ave. and 1050 S. A Street in Oxnard.
Albertsons, Safeway, Vons – At a minimum, the company will reserve every Tuesday and Thursday from 7 to 9 a.m. for those vulnerable shoppers who must leave home to obtain their groceries, unless otherwise locally mandated. Customers should check their store’s hours if they’re opening on a different schedule.
Gelsons – To help protect vulnerable members of the community, Gelsons will open from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. for customers 65+. Customers may be asked for ID.
United Way of Ventura County 2-1-1 Volunteer Corps
Time and Dates: 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. daily, beginning on March 18, 2020
Training Sessions: 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. daily with 4 or 8-hour shifts recommended
Location: Ventura County Office of Education (VCOE) Conference and Educational Services Center, 5100 Adolfo Road, Camarillo. Volunteers will need a laptop and headset. For more information or to sign up, visit volunteerventuracounty.org or download the Volunteer GetConnected app on your smartphone. For iPhone users, go to VolunteerGetConnected or for Android users, go to VolunteerGetConnected_Android A user account is needed in order to register.
Volunteer Ventura County
Extensive list of volunteer opportunities countywide, including 2-1-1 Volunteer Corps, 2-1-1 phone volunteers, Red Cross, and many others. volunteerventuracounty.org
Area Agency on Aging – Help Your Neighbors
Coordinating volunteers to deliver groceries and supplies to homebound seniors. VCAAA is also accepting grocery donations for older adults who are part of our Senior Nutrition Program as well as new clients who are identified as food insecure and in need of supplies. To volunteer, email your name, phone number, and the city in which you are able to deliver and/or volunteer to: LOIS.VCAAA@Ventura.org
Upper Ojai Relief
Volunteers needed to provide door-to-door delivery service to those most vulnerable, the elderly, immunocompromised, immobile or in medical or self-quarantine. Volunteers, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Those in need of assistance, please text RELIEF to (877) 959-2599 or email: email@example.com
GENERAL INFORMATION AND REFERAL
2-1-1 Ventura County
Comprehensive information and referral service for Ventura County connecting callers and texters to information about health and human services available to them. During times of disaster, 2-1-1 provides incident specific information in coordination with local emergency services, including road closures and shelters both locally and nationwide. Call 2-1-1 or visit 211ventura.org or text “COVID19” to 211211