Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton COVID-19 Update (May 1, 2020)

Catholic Children’s Aid Society continues to support children, youth, and families during the COVID-19 crisis.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize that there is increased stress on families and the well-being and safety of vulnerable children, youth and families could be at greater risk.  We remain open and providing services. Call if you have a concern about the safety or well-being of a child or youth or if your family is in need of support. The safety and well-being of children and youth and strengthening families is at the centre of all of our decision-making.

Every family situation is unique. We are continuing to follow our usual practice of assessing each situation and the related risk to an infant, child or youth, individually. Our child welfare workers are working compassionately with families, youth and children, to ensure they have the emotional support they need during a difficult time. We are also ensuring that we provide inclusive services that meet the needs of diverse communities. This includes ensuring decisions are informed by the specific cultural needs of children, youth, and families. During the pandemic, our commitment is unwavering.

We recognize our responsibility to address the safety of our employees and the community, while adhering to our mandate. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are following public health guidance and adapting how we support and protect vulnerable children to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved.  We are striking a balance between the need to keep physical distance as much as possible for health and safety, while also meeting the needs of families, youth and children.  In-person visits continue to happen when needed, in particular, when there is a serious risk of harm to a child.  There are also many innovative ways in which the agency has adapted our services, including check-ins by phone and virtual technologies. There is COVID-19 screening before any visit, with clear protocols to protect employees and families during the visit, including the use of personal protective equipment as needed.

Parental visits

We promote significant family and cultural connections for all children and youth while paying particular attention to those who are overrepresented in care, including those who are First Nations, Inuit, Métis, racialized and LGBTQ2S+.

Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton recognizes the importance to children, youth and families of maintaining and strengthening family bonds. The parent-child relationship is a key priority and the agency is committed to mitigating the effects of any necessary restrictions on these rights.  Evidence-informed public health information regarding prevention protocols has had an impact on the agency ability to facilitate in-person visits. There is currently a provincial emergency order limiting in-person contact that is in effect until May 12th. We are being innovative and trying to ensure connection is made possible. This includes supporting virtual and alternative forms of contact. We recognize that every family situation is unique and are currently reviewing in-person visits on a case-by-case basis to determine how best to proceed once physical distancing restrictions are lessened. Therefore, any plan for in-person access visits will adhere to provincial orders and public health guidance, which could include physical distancing recommendations and/or the use of proper personal protective equipment.  Our plans are reviewed regularly as the pandemic protocols continue to evolve.

We are providing families in need with cell phones and financial aid with their internet costs to ensure staying connected is possible. We recognize that the potential negative impact of not being able to facilitate face-to-face connections between children and their parents, especially as physical distancing measures are extended for longer periods.

The Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton is committed to continually monitoring and updating our plans so that we are responsive to the evolving environment.

Thank you for your continued understanding during this time. We will continue to monitor this situation closely and will provide updates as necessary.

For more information on COVID-19, we encourage you to stay informed by regularly visiting the Hamilton Region Public Health website at www.hamilton.ca/public-health/covid-19/novel-coronavirus-covid-19

Posted in General News
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