Support for Urgent Services Needed
July 2020 · Coronavirus, Foster Care / Adoption, Hi-Lites, Ministry News
The COVID-19 pandemic created an unprecedented shift in how Saint Francis Ministries approaches the services we provide for children and families.
Impacts from the pandemic have unfolded over several months in the communities where Saint Francis works, and the organization expects to see long-term challenges. With an initial focus on supporting staff and clients in staying safe and healthy, Saint Francis has begun to develop new ways of serving children and families and to prepare for a future that looks different than it did in March.
“We expect the need for our services to become even more pressing,” said Fr. David Hodges, chief development officer and president of The Saint Francis Foundation. “It has been critical that we have needed resources. We all are concerned about how families and their finances will become strained. Those needs are likely to be physical – support for things like food, clothing, and medicine – but they also will be emotional and spiritual.
“The likelihood that stress and anxiety will lead to an increase in child abuse is high,” he added. “Already, communities are seeing escalating reports of domestic abuse. We must be prepared to answer the call for help to supply support and resources that we surely will receive in the coming months.”
In response to identified needs, The Saint Francis Foundation created the Crisis Response Fund to financially support the work being done to serve children and families.
In the time of COVID-19, meeting needs has meant additional technical resources like tablets and establishing internet connections so families could stay in touch virtually, finding resources and ideas to help parents home school, and brainstorming ways to help little hearts deal with such a significantly changed routine.
“We have quickly adapted to ensuring as many employees as possible can work from home through enhanced technology supports,” said Rachel Marsh, vice president – advocacy. “We’ve monitored in real time changing federal and state guidelines that support our use of telehealth and televideo in staying engaged with clients, and keeping parents and children connected with each other.”
The Saint Francis Outpatient Behavioral Health team has been conducting telehealth sessions that allow them to support vulnerable clients even when they couldn’t meet face to face.
“When I look at the way Saint Francis has responded to this crisis, I’m reminded of how honored I am to be part of this team of caring, dedicated professionals,” Fr. David said.
If you are interested in supporting the increased needs brought about by COVID-19, donations can be made online at saintfrancisministries.org by selecting the Crisis Response Fund.