Residential Practice in COVID

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Governmental Oversight and Advocacy

In times of crisis, it is important to remember that information is often not disseminated in an ideal or fast way. There will likely exist gaps in information sharing, in planning, and in interagency communication. It is important that agencies construct their own policies and maintain crisis committees to begin planning for a remote workforce and for the safety of families as quickly as possible. It will be vital for agency leadership to collaborate with other agency leaders to advocate for guidance regarding adjustments to staff-child ratios, mandated face-to-face work in the community, and visitation on residential grounds. Such guidance will change rapidly as situations escalate; however, it is important that all agency leaders work together to request guidance from government oversight agencies. Guidelines should also be requested regarding home visits, case work contacts, and family visits both on and off the residential site. Weekly or bi-weekly calls should be scheduled with agency program leaders to provide updates as the situation changes over time.

Agencies will require support and guidance surrounding fiscal-related issues, especially if a crisis takes place near the close of a fiscal year or if an agency is in the process of applying for new contracts. Be sure to reach out to funders, both private and City/State, to inquire about how a pandemic impacts deliverables and deadlines for budget spend-down and extensions, as well as for application deadlines. It is also possible that funders will allow for adjustments regarding how funding is spent to ensure basic needs of residents and their families are met, and will permit monies be used for emergency spending. It is important to advocate for guidance on these issues as quickly as possible.