CASA Program’s COVID-19 Update and CASA/GAL Visitation Policy until Further Notice
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak evolved in the past few months and now has taken a dramatic trajectory in the last few weeks. Our primary concern is always for the well-being of the children, families, volunteers and staff who are associated with the CASA program.
There have been new guidelines (Federal, State, City and County of Honolulu, the Judiciary, and National CASA) about how we interact socially including the use of social distancing, minimizing participation in large gatherings, and changes in our program operations. We continue to closely follow the evolution of COVID-19 and its potential impact regarding our responsibilities as advocates for our children in foster care and keeping our staff and volunteers safe. We will continue to do our best to best serve our children in foster care in light of the changing circumstances and in hopes that things will normalize in the near future.
Foremost, the health and safety of our CASA/GAL volunteer and the staff is of utmost importance. Please adhere to the recommendations and instructions of the authorities to keep yourself and loved ones safe by following the recommendations and guidelines.
- The virus, and guidance from health officials, should be taken seriously
- Please stay home if you are ill or feel ill; and call your doctor’s office for guidance
- Stay away from gatherings with large crowds
- Keep your “social distance”
- Wash hands regularly, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water (click here for more details on effective handwashing: Handwashing Best Practices)
- Use hand sanitizer regularly
- Disinfect surfaces regularly
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then dispose of the tissue and wash your hands immediately. If you do not have a tissue to hand, cough or sneeze into your elbow rather than your hands.
CASA Program Visitation Policy, effective immediately and until further notice from the program:
All in-person, face to face visits with children, parents, families, resource caregivers shall be suspended;
CASA volunteers is prohibited from physically attending any meetings or court hearings, including ohana conferences, DOH treatment team meetings, DOE IEP meetings. The CASA program staff social workers will cover for and attend all necessary/emergency court hearings on behalf of the CASA volunteer.
The current situation with Covid-19 is of grave concerns and taking these precautionary measures is our civic responsible to ensure the community’s safety and prevent the spread of the virus.
The CASA program stresses the importance of meaningful and consistent contact with the children we represent, in order to have in-depth knowledge of the case and make fact-based recommendations to the court. In lieu of the face to face contact during this time period, the CASA/GAL and staff social workers shall:
Increase contact with the children and resource caregivers via text, phone, face time or video conferencing. Document these contacts via Optima.
CASA volunteers shall stay in regular communication (at least once every two weeks) with assigned CASA social worker and program regarding the children’s current situation, case planning, and ensuring the needs of the children are being met.
Please do not hesitate to notify the CASA social worker/program if there are any concerns for the well- being or safety of a child or family during these uncertain times.