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Our Response to COVID-19

For over 140 years, the health and safety of the children and families we serve, and of our staff, has been the primary concern of New Directions Youth & Family Services, Inc. And while the emergence of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) presents a new challenge to our planning and resources, we are working closely with the counties’ Department of Health, the New York State Office of Children & Family Services (OCFS) and Department of Health (DOH) to ensure that we are following their guidance regarding approved procedures and best practices.

New Directions provides a wide range of services including residential centers, schools and a diverse array of community-based programs, each of which has reviewed the guidance being provided and is implementing the recommended policies and procedures as is appropriate for the service being delivered.  A copy of this guidance has been attached below to provide some insight as to what it includes.

At this time, our immediate focus remains on the prevention of infection and maintaining open communication with all involved. The general guidance that we have received from New York State’s OCFS and DOH has been well publicized but bears repeating – stay away from large social gatherings, practice “social distancing” (stay at least three feet away from other people whenever possible), and isolate yourself from others when you are not feeling well. Basic prevention methods like frequent hand washing and sanitized cleaning are critical.

All our services are altering their activities as appropriate to follow these recommendations, including the cancellation of large group meetings and field trips, enhanced cleaning and disinfection of facilities, encouraging staff to use video and teleconferencing and allowing staff to work from home when possible.

Our residential facilities and schools are aware of and are following NYS guidance regarding the process to follow should the infection of a child be suspected, including an approved assessment protocol, isolation procedures, notifications, and transportation to a health facility under the direction of the NYS Department of Health.

Our behavioral health clinic and community based programs are contacting families before visits to provide information on COVID-19 and to determine any health risks that may be present in the home. The use of telemedicine (including video) is also now being encouraged when allowed by service’s licensing agency.

For more information on COVID-19, we are recommending the following resources:

New Directions is both proud and grateful for the dedication of its staff which continues to provide high quality, compassionate care to children and families throughout New York during these challenging times, and we remain hopeful the actions we are taking will help to keep our children, families and staff healthy and safe in the weeks to come.

Sincerely,

Joseph Gallagher Chief Administrative Officer

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