With the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to the United States, and the resulting guidelines, orders and safety precautions that have been put in place, Fairfax CASA has had to drastically adjust how we continue to serve the Court and our families, while protecting the health and well-being of our volunteers, staff and, most importantly, the children we serve.
In an effort to balance the provision of quality advocacy for children with the limitations of social interaction and contact, we have implemented temporary changes to our day in, day out operations. Below, please find updates on these programmatic changes, event/training updates, and a link to resources for families in our community. As this situation is changing rapidly, we will provide updates on this page on a weekly basis.
TEMPORARY PROGRAM CHANGES
The Fairfax CASA office will remain open on a modified schedule: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings with one staff member physically in the office. All staff will be available M-F, working remotely, via email and phone during normal working hours. Please do not come to the Fairfax CASA office, unless pre-approved.
VISITS WITH CHILDREN
Now, more than ever, the children we serve are counting on their CASAs to be the eyes and ears of the Court. Effective immediately, all in-person visits with children and families are suspended until further notice. CASAs will remain in contact with their child(ren) and the team, via telephone calls, video chats, texts, etc. We have asked our CASAs to get creative. There are numerous apps such as FaceTime, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, and Skype, that allow for visual interaction. Video chat will not always be effective or practical, especially when a CASA is assigned to a small child. But it is critical for the health and safety of everyone involved to adhere to social distancing. We have asked our CASA volunteers, in most cases, to increase “visits” from twice monthly to weekly.
The Court has issued directives as to what types of hearings will continue as previously scheduled, and which hearings are postponed. CASA volunteers are to continue gathering information, as available and in the safest way possible. Court reports will continue to be submitted.
EVENTS, TRAINING, AND INFORMATION SESSIONS
INSERVICE TRAINING (CONTINUING EDUCATION)
All In-Service Trainings for Fairfax CASA have been suspended, pending further notice. Staff are working to reschedule trainings for late Spring/early Summer, depending on the recommended guidelines of the government. In the interim, there is a wealth of independent learning that can be accessed below for CASA volunteers to continue earning Continuing Education credits. Additionally, we will be scheduling some virtual sessions through Zoom. Details to follow.
All information sessions for prospective CASA volunteers will continue as scheduled through the virtual platform, Zoom. You can click here to access the schedule. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org in order to RSVP to an information session or with any further questions.
COVID-19 FACTS, STATS, AND RESOURCES FOR STAYING HEALTHY AND SAFE
TALKING TO CHILDREN ABOUT COVID-19
How to talk to children about Coronavirus, Kid’s Health
Talking to children about COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent’s Resource, National Association of School Psychologists
Parent/Caregiver guide to helping families cope with the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Helping Children Understand COVID-19, a coloring book by Manuela Molina – @MINDHEARTKIDS.COM
RESOURCES FOR THE COMMUNITY
The document below contains community resources regarding food assistance, WiFi resources, Emergency Financial Assistance, Tax Information, Mental Health resources, and more. Please share this throughout the community so our neighbors can find the assistance they need.