PROVIDING REAL CARE AT A SAFE DISTANCE

How to virtually care for vulnerable children and the families you serve

 

 

 

SUPPORTING OUR FAMS

 

In this unique time of quarantine and isolation, our supported families will need our help more than ever as they face unprecedented challenges. We have a unique opportunity to serve our families and children even though we can’t physically be present. Let’s remember that one of the main reasons foster families quit is because of the isolation they feel in their journey. The added stress everyone in the household is experiencing could mean more fears and triggers in children, resulting in escalated behaviors. Now more than ever, our families need our love and support!

This uncertain and ever-changing time means that we need to be creative in how we serve our families so they feel our love and encouragement as they navigate life at home with children who have experienced trauma. Our goal is to make sure placements can remain stable and no disruptions occur.

Below are some ideas for how to support these families. Please always follow the highest level of safeguarding to protect yourselves, your volunteers, and the children and families you serve. No one should ever put themselves or others at any kind of risk. Follow all the most updated recommendations by the CDC and anything required by the city or state in which you reside. Extra caution is always advised. All serving is at the discretion of the supported family being served and the volunteer. Err on the side of over-communicating in order to maintain the highest sense of safety possible.

 
IN ADDITION TO ANY HEALTH AND STATE GUIDELINES, USE COMMON SENSE WHEN SERVING:

  • Do not engage in any in-person service (even dropping off) if you are not feeling well.
  • Do not engage in any in-person service (even dropping off) if you have been in proximity or contact with someone who has the virus or who has been ill. Practice self-quarantine.
  • Avoid making any contact when serving families, keeping a 6 ft. distance.
  • Wash your hands well and often.

*Find an app or platform that works easily for video calls like Zoom, FaceTime, or Skype.

 

 
SERVING SUPPORTED FAMILIES:

 

PRIMARY ACTION STEP


  • Advocates, set up video calls with each of your foster/adoptive/kinship/Safe Families to check in on them personally.
  • Schedule these check-ins every 1-3 weeks, depending on how the family is coping.
  • Refer them to online resources such as Chosen.care where they can get online tele-help if the family or child is really struggling. Counseling is offered on a sliding scale, and no one will ever be refused due to financial constraints. They also offer a 2-minute tip every day and other helpful resources.
  • Empathize with your parents since a change in routine can trigger behavior changes in children who have experienced trauma.
  • Set up an online Support/Connection Group for your foster or Adoptive families where they can share with each other (you can ask one of the parents to lead this). An online Connection Group for dads is also a great idea.
  • For helpful tips and short videos on all types of behavior resulting from trauma, go to https://empoweredtoconnect.org/resources/.


PRAYER


  • Pray with children via video calls.
  • Lead a weekly or bi-weekly Care Community prayer time.
  • Team Leaders can host a weekly video call check-in with the parent.
  • Utilize the 7-Day Prayer Guide found here or at the bottom of this page.
  • Set up a WhatsApp or GroupMe prayer check-in for Care Communities and supported families.

ENCOURAGEMENT

 

 

  • Send texts, emails, and virtual cards every few days.
  • Offer to help with utilities or medical costs.
  • Order or drop off supplies like diapers, crafts, or games.
  • Gift an online program or streaming service.
  • Purchase gift cards matching families’ needs.
  • Provide gift cards for supplies or fun things for kids.

 

FAMILY HELPERS

 

  • Utilize an online delivery service such as UberEats or DoorDash or provide a gift card for these or any other kind of meal delivery or restaurant take-out.
  • Offer to do the grocery shopping or to pick up groceries ordered online and deliver to the driveway or front porch.
  • Bring frozen meals or homemade meals (all parties would need to agree on this plan, and commit to adhering to approved safety practices for your area).
  • Loaves & Fishes.
  • Offer to pick up or drop off items that are needed such as diapers or cleaning supplies.
  • Help with lawn care.

 

CHILD MENTORS

Since in-person visits are prohibited, here are online/virtual ideas your Care Community

Members can do to give caregivers a break:

 

  • Help with tutoring or schooling online using Facetime, Skype, or Zoom.
  • Play games together online.
  • Read stories to children online.
  • Teach new skills online: things such as baking, making crafts, playing an instrument, singing songs, telling jokes, magic tricks, etc.
  • Provide gift cards for supplies or fun things for kids.

 

UNIFYING CARE COMMUNITY VOLUNTEERS

 

As Advocates and Team Leaders, you will have to be very intentional about connecting consistently with your volunteers. We hope you will find joy in your conversations and interactions as you serve in this way.

 

  • Host a weekly or bi-weekly virtual call that lasts about 15-30 minutes. Spend the first 15 minutes sharing any serving challenges, experiences and God stories, and spend the next 15 minutes praying.
  • Team Leaders or Advocates can send an encouraging email or text every 3-4 days to all members of each Care Community.
  • Advocates can share weekly or bi-weekly updates with encouraging stories.
  • Advocates can also do a quick video update or schedule a call-in for Team Leaders weekly or every other week.

UNIFYING YOUR ADVOCATE TEAM

 

Just like with Care Communities, you’ll need to schedule regular virtual calls every 1-3 weeks where you can most importantly, pray for the needs in your FAMs as well as discuss any challenges and how to resolve them.

 

Divvy up the tasks according to everyone’s capacity and gifting. Writing hand-written notes to your families and Team Leaders can be very encouraging for them. Also, send an email to all volunteers and families twice a month to help encourage them in serving through this challenging time. 

 

DOWNLOAD HERE the below document on Providing Real Care at a Safe Distance. 

C127 Caring-Virtually-Infographic127

 

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

 

 
SPIRITUAL ENCOURAGEMENT:

 

·              Coronavirus and Christ by Desiring God

·              How Do I Fight My Coronavirus Fears? (Interview with John Piper)

 
HEALTH & SAFETY TIPS:

 

·              PSA Safe Grocery Shopping in COVID-19 Pandemic

 
DATA & INFORMATION: VULNERABLE CHILDREN DURING A PANDEMIC

 

·              The Coronavirus Shutdown Hurts Children and Families in Crisis podcast by Orphans No More

·              How COVID-19 Impacts Families in Poverty by Think Tank

 
COMMUNITY & RELATIONSHIPS: