As an essential service in the child protection and family services space, the COVID crisis has meant that both KARI Limited and KARI Foundation have had to develop constantly evolving plans of action, enabling us to continue to deliver our quality brand of service to community and corporate alike as we face these challenging times together.
As an agency, across all service locations we have limited our office visiting hours from 10am to 1pm, unless visits are via a pre-arranged appointment. Our phone lines continue to be open as normal from 8:45 to 5pm.
We want our community to know that we are available and accessible, but adhere to restrictions and deliver service safely.
The Permanency Support Program have faced a particularly challenging time with the following changes to contact schedules and carer/young person support systems being put in place;
- We released a letter to inform all carers of changes in work practice.
OOHC/ Restoration teams moved to a ‘distance support’ style of practice. Staff are providing phone call and Zoom support to carers, children and young people. This includes increased ‘home visiting’ via phone and facilitating birth family contact via Zoom, phone calls and letter/ photo exchange. Staff are still providing a field based response for immediate or emergency support needs provided an internally developed COVID health screen check is completed without concern.
- We have provided resources and support to staff around ‘Social Stories for COVID’ to be provided to children and young people.
- A series of text messages are sent routinely to carers for immediate communication. The text messages that have been released so far have aimed to support carers around following accurate health and government information, support children’s emotions during COVID and how to manage their own self care.
- The KARI Clinic have been providing extensive phone call and Zoom support to carers who support children and young people with complex behaviours.
The Clinic team have extended this support to all carers who feel they may require psychology support during this time.
Our Brighter Futures and Early Intervention teams have continued to deliver consistent daily service to their families and community referral clients.
Brighter Futures Family Support Workers (FSW) are continuing to do scheduled case plans & home visits via teleconferencing. FSW check in on Monday and Friday to see how the families are travelling and stay connected by communicating through text messages throughout the week.
Early Intervention staff are still available for client walk-in and taking on new referrals, but the time has changed to provide face-to-face support between 10am and 1pm only. The team also conduct regular phone check-ups with clients, and are actively collaborating with other services across the sector to provide continuous support.
Our Community Programs Team are facing challenges of their own with community staying at home, school closures and restrictions on crowd numbers it has been a uniquely challenging time.
Zoom conferencing has allowed our Fit Camp Exercise program to continue for clients providing continuation of programming but also a much needed mental health and wellbeing check-in with our staff.
The team have bunkered down into planning for programs for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021. The team will be more than ready to hit the ground running when we return to regular programming!
Our graphics and social media team have never been busier or had so much content ready to share with community via our Facebook and Instagram pages. Providing unique content, and ideas ranging from wellbeing, music and family friendly activities that have engaged our community and ensured that they stay connected to the KARI family.
Lead with Culture (LWC) continue to provide their tailored brand of mentoring to young people via phone, email, social media and zoom conferencing. The most common issues clients are facing are with regard to housing and access to technology.
In relation to Housing, the most common theme is overcrowding, couch surfing and nowhere for them to do their work or study. The young people rarely have access to free Wi-Fi and or computers to complete schoolwork or have computer between an entire household.
In response, KARI Foundation has been able to work with one of their business partners Optus, to distribute Donate Your Data sim cards to all LWC clients. The sim cards come with free data, phone calls and texts, a wonderful opportunity for clients to take advantage. This, in some way, has eased the pressure of access to Wi-Fi and staying connected overall.
As we continue to move forward, we are proud to say that we are here, pushing on to remain a constant source of support and connection for our clients, families and community.