Foster VC Kids CFS UPDATES Regarding COVID-19 | Foster VC Kids
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CFS UPDATES Regarding COVID-19

UPDATE: April 2, 2020

Dear Caregivers,

As you know, Ventura County has issued a stay well at home order effective through mid-April, and the State of California has issued a stay at home order under further notice. In these uncertain times, it is even more important to manage stress. VC Emergency has a list of resources on coping with stress (click here) as well as the most up to date local information on the impacts of the Coronavirus. The good news is that one of the best ways to manage stress is completely free and readily available to everyone—humor! The University of Saskatechewan has put together a selection of humor (click here): “We encourage you to use this and other forms of self-care as an inoculation to boost your resilience! Keep up your spirits. There is light at the end of this COVID tunnel.” For those of you who are now homeschooling, also check out these 6 Engaging Anxiety Management Activities for Kids (click here) by the Counseling Teacher, who also shares this wisdom about letting go of what we cannot control:

As always, please contact us through the resources listed on our website: http://homeswithheartvc.org/covid19-2/.

Stay well!

-Your Homes with Heart VC Team

 

UPDATE: March 30, 2020

Dear Caregivers,

As the stay-at-home order for California has been extended through April 30, Children and Family Services continues to prioritize keeping children safe. We realize that remaining at home full-time with children is a challenge, and we are grateful to you for opening your homes and hearts to children in need of care. Today’s message has four resources to help during this time at home.

Respite Care

Respite care continues to be available to resource parents even during the stay at home order. Trained caregivers will come to your home so that you can take a break for essential activities (i.e. grocery shopping or medical appointments) or take some time to yourself in the other room. To make a request for respite, please contact Channel Islands Social Services at 805-384-0983. The respite caregivers are being screened to make sure that they have no symptoms of the virus. You will also be asked screening questions about your family’s health.

Webinar on Connection

Quality Parenting Initiative (QPI) is providing a series of web-based trainings called “COVID-19: The New Normal.” The trainings are taught by child development and legal experts. The first training is tomorrow March 31 at 11am. The topic is: The Power of Connection: How Resource Families Can Support Adolescents Through COVID-19 Crisis. Please click here to register.   

Articles on Caring

For more ideas on supporting children and youth, take a look at the article by Dr. Ginsburg and Eden Pontz, Making Your Home A Safe Haven. The authors share five ways to make home feel like a safe and secure place. You can also check this out this stress management plan specifically targeted to helping teenagers.

Please feel free to contact us with questions and concerns by reaching out to the contacts on our website: http://homeswithheartvc.org/covid19-2/.

Be well!

-Your Homes with Heart VC team

 

UPDATE: March 27, 2020

Resource Family Placement During COVID-19 Survey

As all of us in Ventura County have experienced rapidly changing circumstances the past three weeks, we are checking in with you about your capacity to help with children and youth in care. Please fill out this 3-minute survey to help us update your current availability to care for court dependent children. Even if you are not available, it is important for us to know the most up to date information about your home during this public health emergency. All information shared is confidential. Please respond to this email with any questions. You can also go to http://homeswithheartvc.org/updates/ for information about Children and Family Services response to COVID-19. Thank you for your help with this very important survey and for your willingness to be a home with heart.

UPDATE: March 26, 2020

Dear Caregivers,

During this pandemic, many of us are experiencing fear and anxiety about the future, lack of control, isolation, and loss. These are certainly “unprecedented” times around the world, but these feelings are sadly normal for children and youth in the child welfare system. Children who have been removed from their homes often experience fear and anxiety about the future, lack of control in making decisions about their lives, broken family connections, and loss of all that is familiar. Thankfully, we also have an “unprecedented” opportunity to model for children what it looks like to practice calm, flexibility, connection, and gratitude. One of the most important ways we can do this is to help children stay connected to their family and friends of origin. To help with this, we have added a Virtual Visitation list with directions for several apps that allow people to video chat with each other for free. Although in person visits organized and supervised by Children and Family Services have been temporarily suspended through a court order, there is an option for caregivers whose families are showing no symptoms of COVID-19 to transport children and supervise their own visits with healthy birth families. If you are interested in this option, please talk to your social worker.

Practicing calm in the midst of chaos is an important life skill. If grounding (learning to be calm in face of stress) is not a common practice for you, we encourage you to reach out to your Retention Community Services Coordinator or Peer Partner Educator for support. Also consider these six questions to ask yourself during the stay at home order (you can read more about them by clicking here).

  1. What am I grateful for today?
  2. Who am I checking in on or connecting with today?
  3. What expectations of “normal” am I letting go of today?
  4. How am I getting outside today?
  5. How am I moving my body today?
  6. What beauty am I creating, cultivating, or inviting in today?

As always, for questions and support, please reach out to the resources listed on our website: http://homeswithheartvc.org/covid19-2/.

– Homes with Heart VC Team

 

UPDATE: March 25, 2020

Dear Caregivers,

Thank you for your dedication to caring for children and youth even in these difficult times. As County CEO Mike Powers shared: “These next two to three weeks are truly a critical time in our collective County and community effort to flatten the curve of the spread of COVID-19.  Significant measures are being taken both locally and at the state level.” As you know, one of those significant measures is the stay at home order put in place by the state and the county. Staying at home is certainly an opportunity for quality family time but can also put stress on family dynamics. We know that connection is one way to diffuse stress. In these times, it is even more important for children to share family time and visitation with their birth families. An article from the Chronicle of Social Change explains:

Family time is an important way to meet children’s needs. Fortunately, foster parents and kin are providing children with loving reassurance, routines and opportunities to learn. But children in care have been traumatized by separation from their families as well as prenatal and early stressors. The disruption from school closure, not seeing their friends or having a normal activity schedule is more difficult for traumatized children. Without these everyday supports, their behaviors may become more challenging.

Handling their own confusing emotions is even harder than usual because those around them are reacting to the stress. Foster parents and kin are extremely stretched by school and daycare closures. The anxieties of others make children worry about their parents’ and other family members’ well-being. Young children cannot articulate their feelings and verbal children are likely to act them out. When they see their families every week, their need for reassurance can be met in a different way than what their foster parent or kin can provide.

At this time, due to the stay at home order, in person visitations have been suspended through March 31. We encourage you to make every effort to keep connections between children and their birth families (parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, and others). “Virtual” visits through apps such as FaceTime and Zoom are a great option as well as phone conversations. Click here  for other ideas and links on how to reassure children during this time. Again, in all person visits have been suspended for at least a week.

Thank you again for your dedication as caregivers. For questions and support, please reach out to the resources listed on our website: http://homeswithheartvc.org/covid19-2/

– Homes with Heart VC Team

 

UPDATE: March 23, 2020

Dear Caregivers,

Thank you for your dedication to caring for children and youth even in these difficult times. As County CEO Mike Powers shared in a recent message to all County staff: “These next two to three weeks are truly a critical time in our collective County and community effort to flatten the curve of the spread of COVID-19.  Significant measures are being taken both locally and at the state level.” As you know, one of those significant measures is the stay at home order put in place by the state and the county. As a result, Children and Family Services has obtained a court order temporarily suspending in-person visitation between all dependent children and youth in out-of-home placement and their parents, guardians, relatives and others that is arranged by Children and Family Services. We are still required to make reasonable efforts to facilitate virtual visitation via telephone, Facetime, Skype and other available technology.  Staying at home is certainly an opportunity for quality family time but can also put stress on family dynamics. We know that connection is one way to diffuse stress. In these times, it is even more important for children to share family time and visitation with their birth families. An article from the Chronicle of Social Change explains:

Family time is an important way to meet children’s needs. Fortunately, foster parents and kin are providing children with loving reassurance, routines and opportunities to learn. But children in care have been traumatized by separation from their families as well as prenatal and early stressors. The disruption from school closure, not seeing their friends or having a normal activity schedule is more difficult for traumatized children. Without these everyday supports, their behaviors may become more challenging.

Handling their own confusing emotions is even harder than usual because those around them are reacting to the stress. Foster parents and kin are extremely stretched by school and daycare closures. The anxieties of others make children worry about their parents’ and other family members’ well-being. Young children cannot articulate their feelings and verbal children are likely to act them out. When they see their families every week, their need for reassurance can be met in a different way than what their foster parent or kin can provide.

We are asking you to make a concerted effort to keep connections between children and their birth families (parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, and others). Click here for some ideas of creative and safe ways to share visits. Our Social Workers and/or Field Based Case Aides will be in touch to assess the best means to maintain connections. We are also evaluating technology needs for parents. If you are aware of a parent who has a technology barrier to participating in virtual visitation please let us know as we are committed to providing those resources.

Thank you again for your dedication as caregivers. For questions and support, please reach out to the resources listed on our website: http://homeswithheartvc.org/covid19-2/.

– Homes with Heart VC Team

 

UPDATE: March 19, 2020

Dear Caregivers,

Visitation between children and their parents have been disrupted due to the closure of county buildings. Children and Family Services are exploring alternative visitation options to promote and support contact between family members. We will provide an update as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience during this time.

Pre-service training
In compliance with the health directives now in place, Kids & Families Together has postponed all on site and in-home trainings at this time. Further information on how to continue pre-service training will be available as soon as possible. Please know we are exploring all options in order to provide services to our families. For questions, please contact the pre-service training scheduler at Kids and Families Together at (805) 643-1446 x 151.

Health Tips
For Community Health Tips please visit: http://homeswithheartvc.org/covid19/

Thank you,

-Homes with Heart VC Team

 

UPDATE: March 18, 2020

Dear Caregivers,

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.

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: https://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: https://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 homeswithheartvc@ventura.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 homeswithheartvc@ventura.org.
  • 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 Message to our Caregivers  |   Human Services Agency Website
 

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