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Preparing for a Pandemic

September, 2020

An important part of the Family & Children Services mission is to be prepared for whatever crisis might come our way. It is what we do. When the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the country, Family & Children Services staff came together to create a plan—The COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan—to ensure that we would abide by government guidelines and balance public health concerns with the needs of our organization and the health and safety of our clients.

Among our priorities has been to keep our employees safe but also work toward a goal of reopening our facilities. Even while our facilities had to temporarily close, our employees continued to offer critical services to our clients. They did so by innovative uses of technology, but also continued to meet with clients face-to-face when necessary, even shopping for food, providing transportation to appointments and securing basic needs such as beds and phones.

All employees who have been able to work remotely have done so. Staff who have needed to be on-site have been approved to come into facilities after training on workplace infection-control practices, proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and learning steps to reporting COVID-19 symptoms. All who enter the building must first complete a health screening questionnaire, including a temperature reading, and wear a face mask. Social distancing of at least 6 feet apart is maintained by anyone in the building. Walls between cubicles have been heightened and Plexiglas barriers have been installed.

Visitors to the building are required to undergo the same health screening questionnaire and are provided with a face mask if needed. The number of visitors in our lobby and conference rooms is restricted, and furniture is placed to provide for social distancing. Visitation for parents takes place outdoors, as weather permits. Signage and educational posters about COVID-19 have been posted on doors and throughout the facility. Mail and deliveries to the building are left inside the front entrance.

All of these protective measures have kept our staff and our clients safe. Most important of all, these precautions have allowed Family & Children Services to continue our work and meet the needs of those in our community who need our help the most. As COVID-19 conditions evolve, we continue to review our policies and procedures on a regular basis.