Note: This post has been updated as of 5/1/2020
Our top priority is the health and well-being of our entire Amara community: you, your children, our staff, and volunteers. Current public health guidance differs based on age and medical conditions. Because we work with a wide variety of children, youth, and adults across a variety of locations we are working to ensure that we can continue to provide our supportive services through this uncertain time.
We are continuing to closely monitor public health guidance and will communicate as we have updates. Therefore, Amara’s response may shift as the recommendations do. We appreciate your patience immensely.
We are working to ensure that we can continue our essential services in flexible and creative ways and want to answer some of the questions that we imagine you may have. We also want to share the most current communication from DCYF.
Amara’s Seattle and Tacoma offices: Our office locations are open on an as-needed basis only. All Amara staff who are able to work from home are now required to do so until further notice. Our concrete goods program, a partnership with DCYF, which provides necessities in the form of cribs, diapers, gift cards and more, for families, is a virtual program for the foreseeable future with items being shipped directly to families. The Best for Babies program, a partnership between Amara and Pierce County Juvenile Court, is in need of Amazon gift cards to order supplies that will be directly delivered to our families since we are not currently accepting or distributing donations in person.
Remote Meetings (interviews, meetings, home visits, visitation):
In an effort to follow current public health guidelines around limiting contact when it is not essential, we are working to create more flexible options for meetings. Foster families can expect Foster Care Specialists to continue offering virtual home visits, interviews, and other meetings on an as-needed/requested basis. There will be times when in-person visits are necessary, and we want to work with you to ensure that you are confident in the safety of this. Please stay in close communication with your Foster Care Specialist regarding any special circumstances that may impact you and/or your children’s ability to participate in services.
Our Family Time Specialists will continue to provide visitation support virtually, while ensuring the health and well-being of all. When virtual visitation is not necessary or not an option, we will work together to determine the best way to continue services, ensuring that all well-being is centered in these decisions.
Amara’s Emergency Sanctuaries in King County and Pierce County: Both of our Sanctuaries are currently closed as we continue to assess foster care needs and public health guidelines and how our Sanctuaries can operate within the context of both.
Workshops, Trainings and Support Groups:
Although some of our workshops and trainings are canceled for the time being, our Amara Information Meetings, Volunteer Information Meetings, Emergency Sanctuary Volunteer Orientations, and support groups are available in an online format this month. We continue to monitor the situation and follow public health guidelines. We are reaching out to all registered attendees via email and sharing updates on our social media platforms as well.
For everyone, please make sure you are making the best decision for yourself, your family, and others.
- The following groups are advised by health authorities to avoid interaction in large groups or public settings:
- Individuals over 60
- Individuals with an underlying health condition (heart disease, diabetes, etc.)
- Individuals with a compromised immune system
- Individuals who are pregnant
- In these cases, you should use your best judgment and work with your healthcare provider to make an informed decision that is right for you and your family.
- If you are a caregiver of someone that is immune system compromised, please contact your health provider for input.
Please stay in close communication with your Foster Care Specialist regarding any special circumstances that may impact you and/or your children’s ability to participate in services.
It is important for us to track the health and safety of children, families, staff, and volunteers so that we can limit contact while also ensuring services continue. We ask that sick or COVID-19-exposed individuals not participate in in-person services and inform their Foster Care Specialist or other staff as available of their exposure so that we can effectively provide safe and healthy services to our community. Partner with us by keeping us fully informed as we do our best to keep our entire Amara community safe and healthy.
What to do if you’re feeling symptoms or believe you’ve been exposed:
In King County, if you believe you were exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, contact the novel coronavirus call center: 206-477-3977 or your health care provider. For other locations, please contact your local health department hotline. Please also inform your Foster Care Specialist or Family Time Specialist of any exposure, or a presumed or actual positive, so that we can take the necessary precautions to protect our community.
Coordinated Care has resources including Teladoc and a nurse advice line: https://www.coordinatedcarehealth.com/newsroom/coronavirus-info.html
DOH and DCYF COVID-19 Webpage:
Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and DCYF have created websites regarding the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak that they will be updating ongoing. We encourage you to utilize both sources for information, and we will also be monitoring these websites.
Child-specific information you may find useful: https://www.phila.gov/services/mental-physical-health/environmental-health-hazards/covid-19/covid-19-and-children/
Discrimination: We all have a role to play to ensure we are actively combating misinformation, bias, and stigma related to COVID-19 that will harm people further and foment fear. For more resources, please see King County Public Health’s Anti-Stigma resources.
Our priority is ensuring the health and well-being of our community and the continuation of our essential services. We will be utilizing creative solutions to limit unnecessary contact in an effort to prevent the disruption of services. We are working to stay on top of the situation and prepare our community for alternatives to direct service when possible as the situation evolves. Please know that we are monitoring Washington State and CDC recommendations and will continue to follow local public health guidance.
Thank you for your diligence, patience, and support in ensuring that our community is safe and healthy as we navigate this unexpected space together.