We can prevent another COVID-19 crisis if we work together

Gary Michaels, Visitor columnist
Revealed 9:00 a.m. CT June 14, 2020

By means of all of the trials and tribulations of the COVID-19 disaster, one phrase has reverberated by way of this neighborhood: Collectively.

Shining moments of excellent have introduced us collectively to supply help, safety and luxury to those that want it most – our aged, our younger, our immune suppressed, our well being care employees and others deemed at biggest danger.

Working 20 years within the nursing dwelling trade taught me the significance of prevention. Prevention is essential.

Whereas we concentrate on the preventive measures taken to guard us all throughout this public well being disaster, we should not neglect the significance of preventive measures to guard our youngsters from doubtlessly harmful household crises – a danger that’s solely elevated throughout this time of social isolation.

My perception in prevention is what’s led me to serve on the board for the Kids’s Residence Society of Florida (CHS) – a corporation working to finish the necessity for foster care as we all know it by maintaining extra households protected, sturdy and collectively.

For a lot of households, CHS means the distinction between success and survival. With extra “boots on the bottom” that every other child-serving group, CHS meets households on the crossroads of their struggles and successes to empower them to beat challenges earlier than they flip into crises.

As we cautiously start to re-open our companies and step into one other “new regular,” CHS has sounded an essential alarm: whereas the curve could also be flattening, there’s one other one coming – and we will’t ignore it. We should proceed to work collectively to flatten the curve of households in disaster.

Households throughout Florida are experiencing challenges like by no means earlier than together with unemployment, lack of childcare and social help, and disrupted day by day routines. On account of the COVID-19 disaster, extra households are standing on the harmful crossroads that might lead for entry into the kid welfare system.

Earlier than COVID-19 hit, 75% of entries into the kid welfare system had been on account of neglect – typically fixable household points like untreated psychological well being challenges, substance abuse or insufficient entry to assets. The stressors triggered by COVID-19 have solely exacerbated these challenges … particularly for households already getting ready to disaster.

Our neighborhood’s youngsters and households want us now greater than ever – and we will’t allow them to down.

We have to be the eyes and ears for our youngsters, the serving to hand for struggling mother and father, the listening ear that may assist a household discover the help they want.

After we come collectively for households, we will make an impression – and I consider we will forestall extra households from crossing over into disaster.

After we do that, we will forestall entry into the kid welfare system for extra children – and we’ll without end change life trajectories, strengthening Florida’s future.

If we do nothing, we pays for it – thousands and thousands upon thousands and thousands of tax {dollars} will go towards the care of much more youngsters getting into state custody.

There’s hope inside prevention.

With CHS’ “cradle to profession” method, households can discover help at any age and stage – from child taking their first steps to strolling into their first day of their new profession as an impartial grownup. Parenting is tough – and it’s even more durable for individuals who don’t have any sort of help. CHS by no means desires a household to really feel alone.

As an alternative, CHS counselors, dad or mum coaches, mentors and extra act as help techniques to households – participating children, teenagers and oldsters to construct overcome adversities, construct on their strengths and notice their full potential.

And COVID-19 hasn’t modified that one bit.

The outcomes communicate for themselves: practically 100 % of kids whose households full CHS early childhood applications, resembling Wholesome Households and Wholesome Begin, stay protected at dwelling – and by no means enter foster care.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, helpless, annoyed, lonely or just want a listening ear, please contact CHS. You shouldn’t have to undergo this disaster alone. CHS is offering free 24/7 counseling and help at 1-888-733-6303 or chsfl.org/help. This Household Help Heat line is open to everybody – households, adults, teenagers and children. No judgement and no dedication – simply caring steerage by way of this powerful time.

For those who can help these in your neighborhood who’re struggling, please get entangled in any small means you may – a share on social media, a financial donation or perhaps a cellphone name to be taught extra. Collectively, we’ll impression the lives of so many.

Gary Michaels is a 15-year member of the Kids’s Residence Society of Florida Board of Administrators and previous board chair.

Learn or Share this story: https://www.pnj.com/story/opinion/2020/06/14/we-can-prevent-another-covid-19-crisis-if-we-work-together-guestview/5335606002/

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