Advocating in a Pandemic
Tippecanoe County CASA’s COVID-19 Response, Policies, and Procedures
Updated Wednesday, April 8
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has rapidly evolved in recent weeks, and Tippecanoe County CASA is working to adjust our operations and best-practices in order to continue effectively advocating for the vulnerable children we serve, while taking precautions to protect our staff, volunteers, service providers, and the many other community stakeholders with whom we work. With the exception of detention hearings, all operations will continue through remote communications.
In a time of unprecedented uncertainty for us all, it is critical that the most vulnerable among us, children who have experienced abuse and/or neglect, do not fall through the cracks, and that their well-being is protected. This vulnerable population has already experienced multiple traumas in their lives, and Tippecanoe County CASA is committed to ensuring that their trauma is not compounded by abandonment when they need us the most. Together with our partners in the child welfare system, we are working to continue our advocacy, while simultaneously safeguarding the health of our staff and volunteers.
With some technology and creativity, CASA staff and volunteers can still be strong and consistent advocates for the children they have been appointed to, while maintaining social distancing and quarantine protocols. In light of guidelines which have been released from the World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control, and State and local Departments of Health, the following practices will guide our work until further notice. As this public health crisis continues to evolve, these guidelines will be updated.
All in-person visits will be discontinued until further notice. In order to continue our advocacy, CASAs are encouraged to check-in with their appointed children regularly, using whatever technology is available to them. Video-conferencing is the preferred method of communication, and the next best thing is talking on the telephone. Texting is great for staying connected, but should not replace regular video or telephone visits. Suggested platforms include Facetime, Skype, Google Duo, and Whatsapp.
All meetings will take place remotely. Staff can always be reached via email, cell phone, or by office phone, which can be found in our Staff Directory. All CASA staff are currently working from home, and no one is physically in the office at this time, unless an emergency detention hearing is being held. Visitors to the Courthouse are restricted, and you should not plan to meet with any CASA staff in person.
Most hearings are being vacated and rescheduled. When hearings do take place, we are requesting that the court accept the CASA’s participation telephonically. Regardless of the CASA’s participation in the hearing, the CASA Staff Attorney will be present to represent the CASA program. It is essential that all court reports continue to be submitted on time, in order to ensure that fact-based recommendations are made to the court. CASA volunteers should communicate with their supervisors regarding upcoming hearings.
We are continuing to recruit volunteers, and encourage anyone interested to reach out to us with questions and apply on our website.
All in-service trainings scheduled through the end of May are postponed. We urge CASA volunteers to utilize online training resources to continue learning about the many issuing that impact child advocacy:
The Virginia Beall Ball Library mails out library books, DVDs, and other resources (all for free), as well as the postage to mail them back. Sign up for an account on their website to browse their catalog of resources, and put in a request today! In addition to utilizing this resource yourself, please consider sharing it with the children you advocate for.
All Children All Families, a program of the Human Rights Campaign, offers a variety of webinars on understanding and advocating for LGBTQ+ Youth. Their core curriculum consists of three webinars, and you can sign up for an upcoming one, or view past recordings on their website. In addition, they offer an archive of webinars on a wide-range of topics.
Mental Health America offers a free archive of webinars on their website.
Indiana Youth Institute has several virtual events and webinars scheduled for April that you can sign up for on their website.
National CASA offers a two-part webinar series on human trafficking. The first can be viewed at this link, and the other here Tippecanoe County CASA’s COVID-19 Response, Policies, and Procedures.
The National Children’s Advocacy Center has many free educational resources and webinars on their website.
Being quarantined at home is not always safe. Crisis in health, mental health, domestic violence and child welfare may arise during this stressful time. If you are in immediate danger, call 911. Important information and contacts:
Indiana Department of Child Services operates a toll-free hotline (1-800-800-5556) for people to call and report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect.
YWCA Greater Lafayette offers a 24/7 safe and confidential shelter with continuous case management to help with employment, housing, financial resources, childcare, counseling and other services. If you are in need of emergency shelter, please call at 765-423-1118 or toll free at 888-345-1118 to speak to an advocate.
Indiana University Health Free Virtual Coronavirus Screenings are being offered. IU Health has launched a virtual clinic to offer individuals in Indiana regardless of age free coronavirus (COVID-19) screenings. View screening details.
Greater Lafayette Commerce has compiled a helpful list of community resources in the Lafayette area.
Indiana Department of Health For information about COVID-19, visit https://www.in.gov/coronavirus/ General questions from the public or healthcare provider inquiries about COVID-19 may be directed to the ISDH COVID-19 Call Center at the toll-free number 877-826-0011 (available 24/7) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Greater Lafayette COVID-19 Mutual Aid Response is a Facebook Group for those looking to help, as well as a resource for those looking for information and community resources.
Keep America Connected Companies including Verizon, Comcast, and Altice have pledged to keep internet online for customers who can’t pay their internet bills, as well as waive late billing fees and open WiFi hot spots. More information here. PDF Download
Emergency Food Access:
The J.P. Lisack Community Food Pantry has been modified to a drive-through distribution at Linwood School, located at 1415 Ball Street in Lafayette until further notice. Pantry visitors traveling by car should enter from Greenbush and 13th Street no earlier than 30 minutes prior to the start. Tuesdays and Fridays, 1-4pm.
Tippecanoe School Corp. will provide free, grab-and-go meals to all K-12 TSC students at no cost. The meals will be delivered through the TSC Nutrition Services Department to two locations with stops along the CityBus route: Romney Meadows Apartment homes in Lafayette and Point West Mobile Home Community in West Lafayette Lunches will be available starting at noon on a first-come, first-serve basis and will contain meals for five days. The program will continue every Monday until further notice.
Lafayette School Corp. will continue to offer meals while school is out of session. This link provides information on where and how to access this resource.
Additional Tippecanoe County food resources can be found here.