April 21, 2020
A Message from Jay Rodgers, CEO of the General Authority, to our agencies, service regions and to the public
To those of you in our agencies and service regions: I want to say again, how much I appreciate all of the hard work you are doing to support Manitoba’s children and families, and to maintain a sense of calm amidst the uncertainty. I also want to acknowledge the continued collaborative work and strong leadership being shown by our agency directors. The Directors’ Leadership Table (DLT) continues to have a teleconference call every Tuesday and Thursday.
As of April 21, here is an update on the General Authority’s response to this situation.
• With the support of the General Authority, each agency completed an emergency pandemic response plan (EPRP). The EPRP prepares agencies and the Authority to respond should there be significant reductions in staff and/or caregivers due to the spread of the virus. The EPRP sets out what resources are needed to ensure that essential services continue and how the Authority and other agencies/service regions can support each other.
• Over the last few weeks, a number of circulars have been sent out on visitation, foster parent guidelines, foster parent travel, adoption, cyber safety and the use of Personal Protective Equipment. These circulars, available here, provide important information and direction for agencies during the pandemic.
• The week of April 13, there were three town hall discussions with the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin. One was specific to child and family services, one for operators of residential care facilities and one for early learning and child care. The General Authority and our agencies participated in the town hall discussion specific to child and family services. All found the town halls to be very informative.
• There was a recent press release and circular regarding Agreements with Young Adults (AYA). Agencies can now provide supports to youth turning 18 while in care regardless of that youth’s legal status and continue to support young adults currently with an AYA beyond the age of 21. This will allow for agencies, while in this emergency situation, to support young adults who previously would have aged out of care.
• In terms of child care, CFS has been deemed a “critical service.” With this designation, CFS staff are eligible to apply for the daycare spaces allocated for those on the list of critical services.
In closing, I would just like to reflect a bit on the uniqueness of the current health emergency we are all living through. Daily in the newspaper, on the radio or on television I see and hear the expressions of support for our “health care heroes” on the front lines. There is no question at all that for me, at no other time in my life have I felt such a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation for the work being done every day by these health care workers. But they are not alone. Everyone on the front lines, whether providing child and family services, supporting adults with a disability, working in an emergency shelter, correctional facility or any other front-line care role—all are heroes.
Jay Rodgers, CEO
General Child and Family Services Authority