Children rely on their parents to care for them and keep them safe. During a pandemic, this may be at risk: if parents are unable to look after their children because they are ill, the community will need to provide resources and supports.
Karen Spencer, Executive Director of Family and Children’s Services of Waterloo Region is a co-chair of the Children & Family Services Working Group. Each agency represented on the Working Group has its own tasks in the pandemic response, including Family and Children’s Services.
“Our agency has the responsibility to protect children in these situations. If parents are unable to make arrangements for the care of their children, we can help,” she says. “The focus is on caring for your community, and the need has never been greater.”
When children need care because of their parents’ illness, the first approach taken by Family and Children’s Services would be to find members of the extended family or family friends who could provide a temporary home for the children. When that is not possible, the agency will turn to our existing foster families but also hope to recruit additional homes to meet this need. We will be seeking experienced caregivers from the community such as day-care providers, educators and child and youth workers who may find themselves at home and available because of the COVID-19 crisis.
“We are also continuing to provide services and supports to the vulnerable families in Waterloo Region,” Spencer adds. “Our Working Group includes many community services planning together to help families and children through these challenges.”
More details about how you may be able to help will be available soon.