FY22: Healthy Families Garrett County continues to operate under the HFA Policy on Disease Outbreak and Health Crisis allowing for virtual visits to continue. The majority of home visits were conducted face-to-face during the third and fourth quarter of FY22. Virtual visits are related to a COVID diagnosis, symptoms, or exposure of staff or families.
HFY1 22: Healthy Families Garrett County continues to operate under the HFA Policy on Disease Outbreak and Health Crisis. COVID screenings, proper use of PPE, social distancing & masking on face-to-face encounters, and good hygiene practices continue for home visitors and families. The program continues the use of Doxy.Me to conduct video visits with families that prefer virtual visits.
The Maryland Statewide Security Incident: Challenges exist with supervision, program management, and quality assurances in accessing forms, drives, and databases.
FY21: Healthy Families Garrett County reopened February 2nd to allow face-to-face home visits for families that are comfortable with in-person contact. Staff returned to the office full-time on July 1st, 2021. No telework is approved beyond that timeframe.
- The program continues to adhere to policy and procedures in conducting COVID screenings, proper use of PPE, and proper hand hygiene.
- The program is operating under a hybrid model allowing phone, video, and face-to-face home visits.
- Statistics: 76.8% of home visits by HFGC (includes expansion and Child Welfare Protocol home visits) in FY21 were conducted virtually.
HFY1 21: November 4th, most face-to-face home visits were put on "pause" as a result of the increased COVID rates in Garrett County. Most families are receiving virtual home visits. Some face-to-face visits continue with moms, dads, and babies with COVID screenings in place and the use of PPE. Face-to-face visits are permitted if families are:
- Receiving visits at the Department of Social Services;
- Faced with housing/homelessness, residing at Rose Terrace, or;
- Determined to be in need of a face-to-face visit based on assessment and approval by the supervisor.
The Kindergarten Readiness Assessment was not conducted for the 2020-2021 school year because of COVID. The performance measures pertaining to the KRA assessment will not be current for FY21.
October 2020 - The Early Care Healthy Families program was notified by the Local Management Board Grant Monitor that the program's request to revise Performance Measure targets due to mandatory budget cuts implemented by the Governor's Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services was approved. The adjustments have been made as follows:
- Families served per year - target moved from 100 to 90
- Home Visits completed per year - target moved from 1,400 to 1,125
COVID-19 Program Changes:
Home Visitors continue "Door Step Drop-Offs" and phone call "check-ins" to ensure needs are met in between home visits. Drop off bags include health/safety/developmental education materials, school readiness materials, incentives that go with the virtual visit/parent-child activity (books, nesting cups, balls, etc.), cooking project materials (food), socialization lunches (food), and other items to meet the needs of the family including formula, applications, diapers, etc.
November 4th - Most face-to-face home visits were put on "pause" as a result of the increasing COVID rates in Garrett County. Most families are receiving virtual home visits with the exception of the following:
- Families receiving visits at the Department of Social Services
- Faced with housing/homelessness
- Determined to be in need of a face-to-face visit based on assessment and approved by the supervisor
Maryland State of Emergency -COVID-19 Pandemic Timeline:
Note: Early Care Healthy Families service provisions continued with modifications at the end of the 3rd quarter and throughout the 4th quarter. See the following timeline detailing ongoing changes in operations:
• March 10, 2020 – Program Manager inquired of plan to address HFA home visiting during COVID-19 pandemic if modifications became necessary in Garrett County. Inquiry made to Healthy Families America (HFA) National Office.
• March 10th Home Visitors implemented COVID-19 pre-screening with client face-to-face home visit appointments prior to contact. Pre-screening completed over the phone or, if unable to contact via phone, in person (at a distance) prior to entering the client’s home. Positive screens on March 10th were advised to call their physician to report symptoms and discuss any necessary treatment plan/obtain orders. Home visit appointments on positive pre-screens were rescheduled.
• March 10th -Program Manager and Supervisor began planning for possible home visitor, supervisor, FES Coordinator, quality assurance, and other staff teleworking if necessary. Teleworking checklists completed on staff and equipment assigned as needed (laptops, tablets, internet access, cell phones, etc.) so that staff could perform normal job duties if assigned to teleworking.
• March 11, 2020 - Healthy Families America (HFA) approved “Virtual Home Visits” during times of a “Community Safety Advisory” for all HFA sites. COVID-19 Pandemic is a “Community Safety Advisory”. The policy on “Disease Outbreak and Health Crisis” received from HFA National Office. HFA approved Virtual Home Visits must meet certain assurances, i.e. length and focus must be consistent with criteria for face-to-face home visit, etc. Staff informed.
• March 11, 2020– Virtual Home Visits Offered to positive COVID-19 pre-screen clients in accordance with HFA Policy on “Disease Outbreak and Health Crisis”.
• March 16, 2020 – 12 PM--HFGC home visitors, FES Coordinator, and Quality Assurance Staff placed on “Teleworking” with limited office time to promote social distancing within our vulnerable service population. HFGC Supervisors placed on a “Teleworking” rotation. Home Visitors provided equipment and permissions to access the FamilyWise Data Collection database off-site. Home Visitors continued face-to-face home visits with negative COVID-19 pre-screens when placed on “Teleworking”.
• Supervisors accommodated staff needs for vehicles for travel to/from home visits, client supplies for home visiting, etc. by staff calling the office to discuss needs and by supervisors meeting staff at the exit door one by one to hand out necessary supplies to meet the overall goals of individual home visits and client needs.
• March 16th – Supervision sessions with staff began “Virtually” in compliance with the HFA policy on “Disease Outbreak and Health Crisis”. Sessions remain in compliance with Best Practice Standards of 1.5 – 2 hours per week per home visitor with full caseloads and prorated for part-time home visitors; and cover the required components of administrative, clerical, and reflective supervision.
• March 19, 2020 by 2 pm: COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Update- Home Visitors only permitted to complete Virtual Home visits (no face-to-face visits). They are permitted to complete drop offs at client doors if things need dropped off for activities or to meet other program/client needs (Cooking Project, etc.). No face-to-face contact during drop offs permitted.
• March 19, 2020- New Referral Outreach from physician and the hospital began to be conducted by phone, fax, and email. Outreach for new client enrollment is continuing by phone.
• Throughout program modifications, Family Wise and the Cultural Matrix continue to be the main source of data collection for home visitor data collection. Quality Assurance continues to develop data tracking sheets and send out necessary tools. HFGC home visitors, FES Coordinator, and Quality Assurance staff are required to email their supervisor at the beginning of shift and at end of shift to notify of begin and end work times. For home visitor safety, home visitors are emailing their supervisor of community travel. This is in place of the “Daily Travel Log” completed when working in the office. HFGC staff are required to complete a “Teleworking Activity Log” daily and submit the log to their supervisor at the end of each workday, which details blocks of work time and activities completed. Telework Logs are filed on-site in a COVID-19 program binder.
• In cases where clients do not have the technology (data plans, video ability, etc.), short calls are placed with clients and needs are met by the assigned home visitor. These clients are being served under an “outreach” versus home visiting level of service. This complies with HFA policy. Although these contacts do not count as home visits, family needs are still being met.