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.
  • Find even more ideas in this PDF: “Virtual Ideas: Mentoring From a Safe Distance”
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. 

Would you like the condensed version of this info to share in an email or on social media? Get the visual infographic here.

 

A 7-DAY PRAYER GUIDE

 

MONDAY – ALL CHILDREN:

Pray for peace and protection especially for vulnerable children who may be at risk, children in foster care or displaced from their families, and children from hard places who will experience more challenges.

Matthew 19:14 “… but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’”

 

TUESDAY – ALL FAMILIES:

Pray for support and encouragement for birth families separated from their children without in-person visitation, foster, adoptive, kinship, and Safe Families who are dealing with trauma behaviors and homeschooling challenges, families receiving new children in this uncertain time, and families under financial and parenting pressure. Pray that this time at home would bring them closer as a family and strengthen their relationship with Jesus.

Philippians 4:19  “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

 

WEDNESDAY – CHILD WELFARE & CHILD PLACING AGENCY EMPLOYEES:

Pray for encouragement and wisdom while investigating new cases and handling visits and caseloads utilizing only virtual communication. Pray that they would not grow weary under the pressure and that they would be able to protect children from harm.

James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

 

THURSDAY – VOLUNTEERS:

Pray for motivation and perseverance for volunteers who serve families. May they find creative ways to support families and children and be a source of encouragement and prayer.

Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

 

FRIDAY – CHURCHES:

Pray for the pastors and FAM leaders to keep unity among their congregations and volunteers and show the love of Christ through compassionate and strong leadership. May churches be a city on a hill, a united Church, welcoming all who are hurting.

1 Peter 3: 8-9 “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.”

 

SATURDAY – HEALTHCARE & EMERGENCY WORKERS:

Pray for protection and encouragement for all who are on the frontlines and risking their own health and families to serve others. May there be an abundance of the supplies and tools they need to care for patients. May scientists/researchers quickly find an efficient testing protocol, effective medication, and a preventative vaccine.

Psalm 57:1 “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.”

 

SUNDAY – THE SICK:

Pray for healing and complete recovery for all who are affected by the Coronavirus. May the spread of this illness be stopped abruptly. Provide extra protection for those who are immuno-compromised and vulnerable. May all others receive access to any needed emergency medical care.

Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

 

Would you like to print or share this 7-Day Prayer Guide? You can find the PDF version here.

 

JOIN OUR WEEKLY PRAYER MEETING ON THURSDAYS AT 2 PM EST VIA THIS ZOOM LINK