March 18, 2020
The events of the last week have been challenging for the entire community. With the closure of schools, recurring news stories regarding COVID-19 and uncertainty these are challenging times for all of us.
I am so grateful for you as a caregiver. Our ability to serve the 14,000 children, youth and young adults in care simply would not be possible without your commitment.
The department continues to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak very closely. Every day, our leadership team is evaluating information from the CDC, DHS, Federal Government and our Governor to determine what critical steps are required to manage this situation.
Our staff continues to serve all functions typically conducted despite this current situation. We have permitted staff to telework for the foreseeable future but have not modified the expectations of case management including monthly in person contact with children and caregivers as well as court order visitation with parents. Many of you have expressed concerns with this decision and I want to address it directly.
If you are caring for one of our 500 high-risk children as identified by CMDP, you will have already received direct communication regarding specific precautions and restrictions for these children. If you have family members who are high risk or immune compromised living in your home, we are addressing these situations on a case by case basis at the moment.
Our staff, providers and birth families have been asked not participate in visitation if they are symptomatic. All providers have been directed to sanitize their vehicle after every transportation and the department has implemented additional cleaning procedures in all our visitation centers. Each day we are revisiting these decisions with health professionals.
The department is also conversing with the Courts, Child and Parent attorneys regarding visitation and are currently identify alternative solutions that may be deployed. Any change to our current decisions will be shared as information becomes available.
Please remember to utilize the warmline with any questions you may have, we are here to assist. The warmline number is: 1-877-543-7633. For Foster and Kinship questions, select option 3. The line is staffed from 8am to 5pm, and you can also leave a message.
Finally, if you find yourself challenged as a caregiver regarding resources, please email our volunteer mailbox with your specific need and complete contact information [email protected]. We will do our best to match the need with a community partner to provide assistance.
Again I want to thank you for all you do. Protecting children is not possible without your support.