COVID-19 Resources for Caregivers
The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) leadership is working closely with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and health officials to address Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19 concerns. We recognize that this is a challenging time for the community and that many are fearful or anxious. DCFS will continue its child protection work and provide essential services to children and families through a variety of measures.
DCFS is currently following its Emergency Plan at level red. This indicates an increased need for resources and allows the Department to respond to this crisis while maintaining minimum operations. Under this plan, DCFS has temporarily postponed or suspended:
- In-person meetings, trainings, gatherings, and special events;
- Out-of-State travel for all Department staff (home visits are coordinated with other child welfare jurisdictions); and
- Some policies that do not affect our critical child safety work.
Kathryn Barger, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has ordered all Los Angeles County facilities closed to the public effective immediately. DCFS offices will remain open and accessible to employees only during this time. If you have questions, please contact your social worker or the main line of the DCFS Regional Office you are trying to reach.
Monthly Visits by DCFS Social Worker
The Administration for Children and Families (federal government) is not allowing for exceptions or deviations to the State of California requirement that at least monthly visits carry on with children in foster care. Therefore, DCFS social workers will continue to conduct monthly home visits, but may call ahead to conduct a health pre-screening of those in the home. If someone in your home is feeling ill or feeling flu-like symptoms ahead of a visit, please contact your social worker.
Visitation with Parents and Siblings
Although DCFS offices are unable to host parent-child visitations due to the mandatory closure of all County facilities to the public, family visitations will continue. However, if someone in your home is feeling ill or showing flu-like symptoms ahead of a visit, please contact your social worker to determine if the visit should be in-person, by telephone, or video conference, e.g., FaceTime or Skype.
Child and Family Team Meetings
The Department will continue to facilitate Child and Family Team Meetings via Skype or telephone (when families do not have Skype capabilities).
Dependency Court Hearings
Starting March 17, 2020, all Los Angeles County courtrooms, including Dependency Court, will be closed for three (3) days. The Los Angeles Superior Court will reopen on Friday, March 20, 2020, for the limited purpose of hearing or handing essential or emergency matters, in Criminal, Civil, Probate, Family Law and Dependency/Juvenile cases. You continue to have the right to be heard at court by submitting written information to the court, by using the JV- 290, Caregiver Information Form, or by submitting a letter to the court.
Resource Family Approval Trainings
DCFS is postponing all in-person trainings for caregivers at this time. Contact your social worker with any questions. More information is also available at https://dcfs.lacounty.gov/coronavirus-covid-19-updates/ or by calling the RFA after-hours warmline at (877) 323-7165.
Resources for Caregivers
DCFS is working with local school districts and community partners to help accommodate caregiver needs or connect you with additional resources for children in your care.
We understand that staying home with children for the next several weeks while practicing social distancing may be tough. We have assembled a list of community-based resources available:
- The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) will open 60 “grab-and-go” food centers for school families, beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Each child can take home two nutritious meals. Centers will be open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. To find the center nearest you: click here. Check your local school district for additional resources.
- LA County Library provides many digital resources you can
access 24/7, no matter where you are. A library card number and
PIN is needed for access.
- Read eBooks and listen to audiobooks on OverDrive or Libby.
- Stream movies and TV shows on Kanopy and Hoopla.
- Check out digital magazines via RBdigital.
- Stream music on Freegal.
- TumbleBook Library is an online collection of animated and talking picture books.
- Brainfuse provides kids and learners of all ages with one-on-one homework help and tutoring from 1:00 – 10 :00 p.m. every day.
- Sign up for ReadyRosie to get texts or emails with ideas for family engagement tips and early learning opportunities.
- Educational content will stream on the PBS SoCal and KCET websites, on the free KCET app – available on Roku and Apple TV – and on the PBS Video app, also available on Roku, Apple TV as well as Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Google Play and YouTube.
- Sign up for a weekly newsletter from PBS Kids with ideas for activities and tips you can use to help children play and learn at home.
Safety Precautions and Sanitization
DCFS is taking the health and safety of its clients and staff very seriously during this time. Below are simple precautions to stay safe and healthy during this time:
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water
after interacting with a child or family member or after touching
surfaces in a family’s home.
- Teach children to sing a song while scrubbing hands with soap for 20 seconds – like the ABC or Happy Birthday songs.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- Practice social distancing by limiting the time you spend in public and try to maintain distance from others when you do go out. Avoid places with large groups of people wherever possible.
Coping with Stress
We recognize that this is a challenging time for the community right now and that many are fearful or anxious. When you hear, read, or watch news about an outbreak of an infectious disease, you may feel anxious and show signs of stress—even when the outbreak affects people far from where you live and you are at low or no risk of getting sick. These signs of stress are normal and may be more likely in people with loved ones in parts of the world affected by the outbreak.
During an infectious disease outbreak, care for your own physical and mental health and reach out in kindness to those affected by the situation. The LA County Dept. of Mental Health is working to help communities cope with additional stress during this time. Click here to read more about coping with stress.
During this time, remember the prudent parenting standards you learned in your caregiver training. You should continue to make sensible and reasonable parenting decisions for the child in your care including identifying alternate childcare options with school closures. For more information on prudent parenting standards, click here.
If the child in your home shows signs of illness, keep them away from others and inform the child’s social worker to coordinate a consultation with a Medical Hub clinician.
Stay in the Know
DCFS has increased the frequency of communications with staff, parents, youth, caregivers, and service providers to provide timely information. Although information is evolving quickly, DCFS continues to monitor developments and will share updates as they become available on the DCFS website, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. Please check these channels regularly for updates.
Want More Information?
We’ve assembled a short-list of resources below to help keep you informed during this time.
- United States Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC)
- California Department of Public Health
- California Department of Education
- Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
- Los Angeles COVID-19 Updates
- Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health “Coping with Stress” Flyers
- Los Angeles Unified School District – Hotline for families: (213) 443-1300
- Long Beach Unified School District