I am writing this as our world is facing a health crisis that is impacting each of us, our families, our region and indeed our world. COVID-19 is significantly affecting our work at Youth In Need, and I am immensely grateful to our staff for springing into problem-solving action. We’re working with local, state and national partners—including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and St. Louis Children’s Hospital—to share information, coordinate plans and stay as informed as possible.
Youth In Need has implemented intensive precautionary measures while maintaining our most critical services to children and youth. While we are tailoring specific measures to each program and site, we include increased sanitation and health screenings, and cancellation of in-person meetings and gatherings in our agency-wide precautions.
- Our residential programs (the Emergency Shelter, Transitional Living Program group home and Supported Apartments) will continue to operate, while staff are preparing to isolate youth who may become ill and developing plans to ensure staffing continuity.
- Our youth programs staff will focus on case management of current clients and responding to Safe Place crisis calls; however, our Street Outreach Program is being temporarily suspended.
- Our Counseling program is implementing “telehealth” options so therapists can provide services via phone or video conferencing now that schools are closed.
- Our center-based and home-based early learning programs will be suspended beginning March 18 through April 3. We will be staying in close contact with our families via phone and video during this time.
- Our foster care partnership with Epworth and Family Forward is working with the state to minimize in-person contact while ensuring children are safe in their foster or residential placements.
- Our offices will not be open to the public during this time.
Wherever possible, staff are working remotely to minimize in-person contact as much as possible.
Please note that effective immediately additional precautions include:
- In-person participation in meetings outside of Youth In Need with external stakeholders is restricted.
- Use of our meeting facilities by outside groups is suspended.
- To limit the number of people coming in and out of our facilities, volunteer activities are suspended.
- We are only accepting in-kind donations purchased online and delivered to us. See our Amazon wish lists for our most-needed items.
Viruses are contagious, but so are compassion and hope, and we have those in abundant supply. We will weather this crisis and get through it together. If you are able, we would love to have your continued financial support. A general donation of any amount would help tremendously with the additional costs associated with the current crisis. Alternatively, if you'd like to support broader community efforts, please consider donating to the St. Louis Community Foundation's COVID-19 Regional Response Fund.
Pat Holterman-Hommes, CEO
Youth In Need