Telehealth has helped our clients stay connected and supported during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many families in F&CS’s Comprehensive Home-Based Services (CHBS) and Intensive Safety Services (ISS) programs — which help children most at risk for safety threats, maltreatment, abuse, neglect and out-of-home placement — live in rural communities where technology isn’t easily accessible. Services are vital to these participants, who prior to social distancing measures, would receive in-home visits from F&CS case workers.
To help overcome this obstacle, the Arnall Family Foundation recently awarded F&CS with a $9,000 Child Welfare Rapid Response grant. This grant will allow us to purchase iPads with five months of connectivity for 22 CHBS and ISS families living in areas with limited access to technology connectivity. The iPads will be dispersed to families throughout Adair, Cherokee, Creek, Muskogee Okmulgee, Osage, Pawnee, Pittsburg and Washington counties.
One staff member said “As we continue to practice social distancing to stem the spread of COVID-19, access to community mental health services can be difficult for families who already struggle to provide basic needs. Having the ability to connect families with health care providers through electronic devices at no cost to the family allows for continued treatment and helps mitigate the secondary stressor effects associated with the COVID quarantine.”
This new way of connecting with our rural clients will add yet another resource for communication with therapists after the pandemic.
CHBS assists families in coping with problems that interfere with successful parenting, as well as helps families find and use resources and supports to provide a safe, caring and stable environment for their children. Staff provide services that engage, involve, strengthen and support families in the most effective way to ensure children’s safety, permanency and well-being.
ISS is a home based, short-term, therapeutic service focused on preventing the removal of children. Services are provided to and focused on the parents three to four times per week for a total of for approximately 6 weeks and are designed to assist parents in initiating longer term services to address safety threats including, but not limited, to domestic violence, substance abuse and mental health. ISS is currently providing services via telehealth due to COVID-19 pandemic management.