ADVOCACY FROM A DISTANCE
Here is the Ultimate Guide to Hanging out Virtually
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 face even more obstacles to navigate 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. As of March 16, CASA of Siskiyou County 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 CASA staff 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/text us via our cellphones or use 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 regularly as a form of support and to lend a listening ear. Parents may be navigating distance learning school work, 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 CASAs 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 Behavioral Health at (800) 849-8979 and/or CPS at (530) 841-4200. .
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 CPS been consulted to determine whether these appointments can be postponed?
Does the caretaker have supportive individuals they are relying on right now to stay sane and healthy?
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:
SCHOOL Lunches (This information is in flux, encourage caregivers to contact their child’s school)
Yreka Union School District (elementary schools):
Jackson Street School 11:30-12:30
Gold Street School 12:30-1:30
Siskiyou YMCA 12:00-1:00
Kahtishraam Wellness Center 11:00-12:00
Yreka HIgh School: made arrangements with students who expressed a need; others are encouraged to contact the office at 842-6151.
Montague Elementary School: Meals will be available for pick up at school from 8am-9am, and 11am-12pm.
Grenada Elementary School: Created Grab and Go Wildcat Cafe offering multi-day kits on Mondays and Thursdays; they had students sign up before closing down but also listed an option to request participation by texting gesgrabngo to 81010. Packs can be retrieved from their parking lot 8:00-10:00 on those mornings; deliveries will be:
Delphic School lot 8:00
Karuk Housing bus stop 8:10
Grocery Outlet lot 8:18
Siskiyou Golden Fairgrounds parking lot 8:30
South Yreka Fire Department lot 8:50
24/7 Gas 9:00
Scott Valley Unified School District: Pick up in the following locations:
Callahan Post Office (out front) 11:00am to 11:30am
Quartz Valley Indian Reservation gym parking lot 11:30am to 12:30pm
Etna High School cafeteria 11:00am to 1:00pm
Fort Jones Elementary School cafeteria 11:00am to 1:00pm
Weed Schools: will be preparing sack meals that will be delivered to school bus stops. A complete list is found at:
(We will add other district’s information as we receive it)
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:
Be alert and keep an eye out for signs of abuse and neglect, 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 CPS as soon as possible and alert your Advocacy Supervisor. The after hours emergency number at CPS is (530) 842-7009
Being quarantined at home is not always safe. Siskiyou Domestic Violence and Crisis Center can be reached at (877) 842-4068 24 hours a day/7 days a week. This hotline provides confidential access to domestic violence information and services, including crisis intervention, referral, and advocacy. Their business hours are Monday - Friday 8a - 4p; the office number is (530) 842-6629.
Siskiyou County Department of Public Health - Has numerous advisories and infographics on their website regarding the local COVID-19 protocol: www.co.siskiyou.ca.us/health-humanservices Their phone number is (530) 841-2134.
Fairchild Medical is directing anyone who believes they may have been exposed to this Coronavirus to call (530)598-9973 from their car in the parking lot, and someone from ER will come out to them. The clinic is also offering Express Care (virtual) visits for a $10 fee. They also provide free health information through the Advice Nurse program 877-529-5604.
Mercy Medical Center, Mt Shasta asks anyone experiencing symptoms to call ahead (530) 926-6111 or (855) 407-8792
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.