What is SCYAP doing concerning COVID-19?
What is SCYAP doing concerning COVID-19?
October 19, 2022
SCYAP is continuing to monitor the ongoing developments around COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Our response to the virus has been guided by several SCYAP values – safety, well-being, and permanency. We are committed to keeping our children, foster parents, and staff healthy and safe, while also continuing behavioral health treatment and maintaining children in a stable family environment to develop and grow.
In March 2020, SCYAP developed a committee of management level staff to continually review, evaluate, and adapt SCYAP protocols and procedures related to COVID-19. This leadership team has guided the organization through the ever-changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to do so. In general, we follow recommendations made by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC). We also take into consideration research and consultation from other reliable sources. Our primary focus is on the health and well-being of the children, families, youth, foster parents, and staff we work with every day.
In response to the virus, we continually receive guidance from South Carolina Medicaid and the South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS) about service delivery. We have been allowed more flexibility in meeting children and families’ needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The primary flexibility given during this time has been telehealth service delivery, or virtual meetings and trainings.
In all SCYAP programs, our staff reinforce health education around limiting the spread of COVID-19. Our goal is to ensure that families and youth know the latest information from the CDC and SCDHEC. General recommendations set forth in the most recent guidance from CDC and SCDHEC (as of October 2022) include:
- Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands frequently
- Improve ventilation whenever possible – consider outdoor activities over indoor activities
- Monitor the CDC Community Levels in your area
- Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines
- Avoid contact with people who have suspected or confirmed COVID-19
- Follow recommendations for what to do if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19
- Stay home if you are sick and have symptoms of possible COVID-19
- Get tested for COVID-19 when recommended
- Stay home and follow recommendations if you have confirmed COVID-19
- Seek treatment if you have COVID-19 and are at high risk of getting very sick
- Further recommendations for added protection:
- Consider space and distance when around others
- Wear a face mask or covering when around others
REFERRALS AND ADMISSIONS
All SCYAP programs are currently accepting referrals and continuing operations. We are completing a health screening interview prior to admission or service delivery to ensure youth are not showing symptoms or recently diagnosed with COVID-19, have not been exposed to anyone suspected of having COVID-19, and that the family is comfortable with a visit or placement.
FOSTER CARE PROGRAMS
We are currently accepting new applicants for foster care licensure as additional homes are needed in all areas of South Carolina. There is a particular need for new homes considering the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual trainings are held regularly for new and existing foster parents. Our Licensing Coordinators screen applicants with health questions prior to any home visits or inspections. Safety precautions such as wearing face masks or coverings, considering space and distance during visits, and limited timeframes for visits are utilized as needed to ensure safety.
Foster homes are monitored for risk of exposure to COVID-19. Children are assessed for illness prior to placement and foster parents are informed of any risk. Foster parents always have the final decision about placement of a child in their home. Regional foster care staff contact foster families prior to any visits. During visits, staff may wear face masks or coverings, practice social distancing, and meet outdoors, when appropriate and possible. SCYAP staff continue to provide an intensive level of support for foster parents and youth, including 24 after-hours crisis response. Whenever appropriate, supportive services are provided via telephone or a virtual platform to limit person-to person contact.
COMMUNITY-BASED WRAPAROUND SERVICES
SCYAP direct care workers (sometimes referred to as “Advocates”) will contact families before going into homes to ensure no one in the home is showing symptoms or recently diagnosed with COVID-19. If any risk of COVID-19 exposure is identified, SCYAP staff will not visit the home until it is safe to do so. SCYAP Advocates may wear masks, practice social distancing, and provide services outdoors, when appropriate and possible.
MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
Our in-home therapy services and clinic-based mental health services are generally provided in-person, face-to-face whenever safe and appropriate. However, these services may be provided via our telehealth platform when necessary, as allowed by the South Carolina Medicaid Program. At times during the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth has been the safest method of service delivery and has allowed greater access for children and families in meeting with their therapist.
GENERAL OFFICE STAFF
All SCYAP offices are open and operating without interruption. Most SCYAP staff are primarily working in the office at this point. Within the SCYAP offices, SCYAP staff follow general safety precautions and protocols specifically implemented to limit the risk of COVID-19 exposure.
This year, SCYAP will help more than 2,000 children, families and youth. We know COVID-19 has impacted each of these lives to varying degrees. We will continue to monitor developments and will adapt protocols to best meet the health needs of our children, families, youth, foster parents and staff. We are in this…together!