In the midst of this unprecedented pandemic, children and families are struggling to make it through each day, one day at a time. Many of our families, already engaged with the child welfare system prior to COVID-19, will have an even more difficult time than the average family.
Fortunately, CASA volunteers can still be strong supporters and advocates for the children they are appointed to and their families, while still observing social distancing and self-quarantining protocols. Included in this document is visitation information, resources, school district nutrition distribution, and phone/internet assistance. As of March 18, 2020 CASA of Adams and Broomfield Counties has suspended all in-person visitations, though virtual visits are encouraged to provide consistency and support to your CASA child during this time of uncertainty. There is a lot of information in the following document that we hope will be helpful for you both as an advocate and in your own lives. Please take a moment to review and be sure to connect with your Senior Program Coordinator or Peer Coordinator with any questions you may have or if you are seeking a specific resource we did not include. Remember we are still here to support you! Call your Senior Program Coordinator or Peer Coordinator via their cell or email to reach us.
CASA Volunteers can be a support to resource and biological parents during normal times, and this situation is no different. Volunteers are encouraged to check in with caretakers and children regularly as a form of support and to lend a listening ear. Parents may be struggling with distance learning schoolwork, children’s lack of traditional routine or lack of services that support our children (therapy, visitations, after school activities, etc). All of these things may cause trauma reactions for children that already have a history of trauma.
Caretakers and CASA’s should be aware of this and have behavioral management tools to support youth if needed. If a child experiences a true mental health crisis, please instruct the caretaker to call the Colorado Crisis Response at 844-493-8255 and /or have them reach out to their current provider.
To support a child and their family, when making weekly check in calls, inquire about items such as:
- Health of all household members -- physical and mental
- How are school/distance learning assignments being completed? What was sent by the district/teacher? Is the teacher available via email to help, if needed? Could the CASA assist virtually?
- What is the family doing to keep busy daily?
- Is anyone in the household still working outside the home?
- Has the child/children had any issues behaviorally since being home?
- If the child’s visitation has been suspended due to COVID-19, have they been able to stay in touch with their parent/sibling(s) by phone?
- Is the household having any other challenges? (Financial, shortage of food, childcare for healthcare workers/first responders, etc.)
- Are there upcoming non-urgent medical/dental appointments for the child/children, and if so, has the Division been consulted to determine whether these appointments can be postponed?
- Does the caretaker have supportive individuals they are relying on right now to share with and have social interactions with (if appropriate) to help with mental health?
Advocates must remember that advocacy for a child is holistic and is always much wider than the child themselves. Please be sure to make phone contact with anyone else involved with the child’s case during this time to determine what their status is currently in relation to the child in question (if services are suspended, being offered remotely, etc.) This includes contact with biological parents, if the child is not currently in their custody. Be sure to make contact and help connect them with needed resources they may be seeking - the same as you would the child’s current caretaker.
Some suggested common resources that are operating in a modified way to meets crucial needs in our community during the COVID-19 crisis are:
United Way 211 - https://www.211colorado.org/
2-1-1 is a confidential and multilingual service connecting people to vital resources across the state. No matter where you live in Colorado, you can find information about resources in your local community.
Adams County Human Services- http://www.adcogov.org/coronavirus-community-resources
Human Services will Continue to Provide Essential Services. While Adams County offices are closed the Human Services Department will continue to provide essential services to their residents. Adams County ask for your patience while we continue to process applications as quickly as possible. Adams county will have limited staff and do expect some delays. Interactive map of resources located HERE
Broomfield Human Services- https://www.broomfield.org/260/Health-and-Human-Services
Broomfield HHS is closed to in-person client visits. If you need to apply for or replace an EBT card to access Food Assistance benefits, please visit:
SCHOOL DISTRICT NUTRITION DISTRIBUTION:
–Breakfast & Lunch For alternate languages visit https://www.dpsk12.org/coronavirus/#food
Denver Public Schools will offer free breakfast and lunch meals to students and their families at 12 locations throughout the city, weekdays from Monday, March 16 through Friday, April 3. Food will only be available in grab-and-go packaging to avoid congregating. To prioritize social distancing, families are not allowed to eat on site. DPS is not able to provide transportation for people to obtain these meals.
Breakfast pickup: 8-9 a.m.*
Lunch pickup: 12-1 p.m.*
Breakfast and lunch is also available for adults and can be picked up every weekday. In addition, weekend breakfast and lunch will be available for families to pick up every Friday. The adult and weekend meals are made possible by fundraising from the DPS Foundation.
Abraham Lincoln High School
Valverde Elementary School
Joe Shoemaker School
Place Bridge Academy
Cowell Elementary School
North High School
STRIVE Prep – Sunnyside
Bruce Randolph School
Denver Center for International Studies – Baker
Manual High School
The Evie Dennis Campus
The Montbello Campus
Select Denver recreation centers will be serving dinner to children 18 years old and younger, weekdays from Monday, March 16 through Friday, April 3.
Dinner: 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Green Valley Ranch
Five Star Schools- Breakfast and Lunch For alternate language visit: https://www.adams12.org/health-services/nutrition-services-food-plan
Meal service will start on Tuesday, March 17 and operate through the last day of the extended spring break (Friday, March 27). Meals will be served at the following locations from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Horizon High School
Legacy High School
Mountain Range High School
Northglenn High School
Thornton High School
Adams 12 Five Star Schools-Weekend Meals
Thanks to the support and generosity of Food for Hope in Thornton, pre-packed bags of food will be available for families at all pick up locations to be taken home for the weekend. Each bag will include (at minimum) two protein items, one vegetable, one fruit, one grain and two breakfast/snacks. Bags will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis and will be available starting at 10:30 a.m. on both Friday, March 20 and Friday, March 27. Limit one bag per family. All pick up locations will have these bags available for families on Friday.
Horizon High School
Legacy High School
Mountain Range High School
Northglenn High School
Thornton High School
Westminster Public Schools- Lunch only
Nutrition Services will provide pick up meals for families Monday through Friday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. This program will continue as long as students are away from school.
• Meals will be dispersed at drive-up locations in the parking lots of those buildings.
• We ask that patrons remain in their cars.
• The meals are available for all children ages 18 and under.
• Children must be present for a meal to be provided.
Westminster High School
Ranum Middle School
Shaw Heights Middle School
Scott Carpenter Middle School
27J Nutrition Services will provide FREE meals for children (ages 1-18) from Tuesday, 3/17 through Friday, 3/20. Meals will be available at pick-up locations via walk-up or drive-thru from 11 AM - 1 PM. Any child, regardless of what school they attend, may receive free meals. No paperwork is required! Families will be provided (per child present): one lunch for that day and one breakfast for the next day.
Overland Trail Middle School
Vikan Middle School
Meals may be picked up from the following locations Monday, March 16 through Friday, April 17, between 11:00 a.m. -12:30 p.m.
Meadow Community School
Welby Community School
York International School
Global Primary Academy
– None Currently https://food.bvsd.org/programs/emergency-food-program
Food bags were distributed March 17th and 19th. Boulder Valley Schools are not currently planning food distribution for the week of March 23-27 since they were not providing food service during Spring Break.
Please go to their website (provided above) for updated information.
PHONE AND INTERNET ASSISTANCE:
Keep America Connected: Companies including Verizon and Comcast have pledged to keep internet online for customers who can't pay their internet bills, as well as waive late billing fees and open WiFi hot spots. More information here. https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-363033A1.pdf (to link)
Crisis in health, mental health, domestic violence and child welfare may arise during this stressful time. Some important information and contacts to have on hand both for yourself and for families you work with:
CO Child Abuse Hotline: Be alert and keep an eye out for signs of abuse and Cneglect, even more than usual, because abuse and neglect have been shown to increase during times of crisis/natural disasters. If you suspect child abuse and/or neglect, call the CO Child Abuse Hotline at 1-844-CO4KIDS (844-264-5437) as soon as possible and alert your Caseworker and Senior Program Coordinator.
Being quarantined at home is not always safe. National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 1 (800) 799-SAFE (7233) 24 hours a day/7 days a week. The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides confidential access to domestic violence information and services, including crisis intervention, referral, and advocacy. Bilingual and accessible to the deaf and hearing impaired.
Colorado Department of Health - Learn what precautions you can take about the Coronavirus. Call the CO Coronavirus & Poison Center Hotline at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911. Trained healthcare professionals are standing by to answer your call 24/7 or visit https://covid19.colorado.gov/
Even though we are physically apart, virtual communities keep people connected and build relationships every day. We hope that this will continue to hold true under these stressful conditions.