Yfoundations is committed to supporting our Young People and Members in a time of crisis.
The below information outlines key information and links to resources in the event of a health emergency in the Specialist Youth Homelessness Sector:
The COVID-19 Pandemic is spreading quickly throughout NSW. It is important that services understand where to access the latest information in order to support our most vulnerable young people and those staff working in the SHS sector.
Please find below information and links to where you can get information and support we will update this page daily.
How to Stay up to date with health advice:
- Australia Government Health Advice
- NSW Health advice
- The Disease Toolkit for Continuums of Care: Preventing & Managing the Spread of Infectious Disease With Shelters provides useful information on managing infectious diseases in refuge settings.
Staying up to date across the Social Services Sector:
What DCJ is doing:
DCJ released an email March 16th 8:48 pm
DCJ Contract Manager will be contacting organisations over the next few days to better understand your organisation’s capacity to respond. This will include discussions about your Business Continuity Plan and the preparations you are making for your clients and staff.
The information you provide will be critical in informing local plans for responding to COVID-19.
If you are experiencing difficulties in accessing hand sanitisers or other critical supplies, please advise Your District Contract Manager, they will be an important contact during this period of uncertainty.
If your organisation experiences staff shortages due to COVID-19 and can access casual workers to fill in or pay overtime, we encourage you to do this. If you are concerned about the budget implications of this please contact your District Contract Manager, as subject to their approval, these costs will be covered by DCJ.
DCJ is currently seeking to maximise opportunities with temporary accommodation providers to support self-isolation for some clients, and we will provide you with further updates as more information becomes available.
If you need to access temporary accommodation for affected clients to ensure they can self-isolate, please discuss with your District Contract Manager and DCJ will cover the costs for this.
What Yfoundations is doing:
Yfoundations is advocating and conversing with DCJ on a daily basis to make sure SHS Youth Services will continue to be able to support their young people and staff.
We are monitoring the situation across the sector and will continue to support our Youth Services. We have created a Toolkit for SHS to help you create a Business Continuity Plan for your service in response to COVID-19. You can find this here.
If you have any concerns or would wish to discuss the impacts on your services, then please contact Pam Barker (CEO) 0425 228 758
What you should do if a YP is unwell:
- Contact Public Health Unit -State-wide Number: 1300 066 055 https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert
- Contact your DCJ Regional office to advise them of any suspected or positive diagnoses.
- If a YP temperature is elevated or reports feeling unwell isolate the young person, ask them to wear a mask and seek medical advice
- Each Service should have a pandemic kit (Masks, gloves, eye protection) https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus.aspx
- Each Service should Brief staff on infection control protocols (https://files.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/Infectious-Disease-Toolkit-for-CoCs-Preventing-and-Managing-the-Spread-of-Infectious-Disease-within-Shelters.pdf
- Department of health have an online training module: https://www.health.gov.au/news/how-to-protect-yourself-and-the-people-you-are-caring-for-from-infection-with-covid-19
Advice in regard to staff:
- Safework NSW has some great resources: https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/news/safework-public-notice/coronavirus
- Consider if you have staff who can work from home. (Caseworkers, managers, office staff)
- Can you rotate your staffing roster, so staff work 1 week in the office and 1 week from home? This will decrease the number of staff in the office and travelling on transport. This may also allow staff to drive to work as there will be more parking and less traffic on the roads.
- Some organisations are covering the cost of the flu shot for all staff as of April to decrease further illness and absenteeism.
Ideas of how services are operating:
- Caseworkers are calling prior to casework appointments checking if YP have flu symptoms this includes intake.
- If a YP is unwell, intake and casework meetings are conducted over the phone or via video link with the young person.
- In SHS refuges a YP temperature is being taken at night and in the evening to monitor for a fever. A temperature may not mean the YP has COVID-19, however, will allow a caseworker to seek medical advice early for a young person. It’s important this is done without stigma, bias or fear.
- Some services are putting in place plans to down scale or work with larger services to make sure young people are still being supported and not left homeless. Who can you partner or work within the vent of needing to make changes to your service provision?
Yfoundations will continue to update this information as new ideas and up to date health information becomes available.