Supporting Youth and Families Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic - MtS DEMS CoP Prevention Call - April 2020
In some ways, the nature of doing Family and Natural Supports work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has changed. Some youth are isolating with their families so there may be increased support needed for their families too. Other youth are isolating independently and may need additional mental health support as they navigate social distancing. Below is a snapshot of how MtS DEMS sites are continuing to support youth, families, and natural supports throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, based on the Making the Shift Prevention Community of Practice (CoP) call that happened on April 23, 2020:
- Work with young people is currently focused on the day-to-day. As many things are up in the air for young people (work, school, etc), FNS work has focused on stabilizing and checking in with youth. Even family work has revolved around supporting youth and families to maintain safety and stability, rather than working through past trauma. Some programs have been working with youth to accomplish mini-goals and self care on a weekly basis, rather than working on longer-term goals. FNS workers have been collaborating with case managers to ensure they’re following up on red flags, and getting referrals.
- FNS work is surfacing as a result of youth and families isolating together. In some cases, youth who wouldn’t normally be living with their family or natural supports have moved in with them to isolate together during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, some youth and families who may not have otherwise engaged in FNS work as quickly are having to do so right now. In other cases, because of youth and families having to isolate together, more family conflict has come up, which some programs have tried to work through with online video mediation.
- FNS work is being used to divert young people from shelter. In some communities, FNS programs are being tapped to intervene with youth and families so youth do not wind up in shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic (where this is possible). This speaks to how FNS programs can be key to preventing youth homelessness.