MacKillop Family Services is strongly focused on our response to COVID-19. We are continuing to support the safety and wellbeing of our staff, and the children, young people and their families who right now need our support more than ever. How we do this has changed – but our commitment to do so has not.
A worldwide pandemic is unprecedented for all of us. While we are dealing with a frequently changing situation, MacKillop has robust service continuity plans in place to respond as we need to – safely, and with emotional intelligence. The physical distancing now required for the community prevention of the COVID-19 virus does not mean that we should reduce our social support. In fact, we are using technology to increase social connection during this time. MacKillop is well prepared with strong IT and technical capacity.
We have adapted our services in a number of ways:
- In our out of home care services, we are working with our state government colleagues to develop measures that keep our staff, foster carers and the children they care for safe. This is our most complex service area that requires a skilled and tailored response. We are committed to ensuring children experience stability and routine as much as possible. Our residential care homes are well-stocked with food, frequently cleaned, and our staff are taking every possible precaution to minimise the risk of infection. We are in frequent contact with our foster carers and continue to support them. Many have generously offered to go the extra mile in this time of heightened community need. Similarly our residential carers have been dedicated and creative in the way they are engaging with young people in care in this difficult time.
- In our family support and disability programs, we will continue our family engagement predominantly by phone and online, but we also provide home visits and outreach when there is an unavoidable need. We will make sure that staff are well equipped when they do so. The stress placed on the families we work with caused by COVID-19 can compound existing vulnerabilities, along with the risk of family violence, child abuse and neglect. We prioritise child and family safety at this time, and we are committed to ensuring families have the support they need and remain connected.
- In our schools and education outreach programs, we are well prepared to ensure every student continues to learn despite not being able to attend school. We have developed an individualised learning program for each student, and teachers are contacting families at scheduled times each day to provide ongoing learning support. Our focus is on ensuring children continue their learning journey.
MacKillop Family Services can only operate as an essential service because of the support we receive – from our committed staff, our incredible foster carers, and from members of the community who help us to deliver support to children, young people and families in over 40 communities across NSW, Victoria and Western Australia.
We have provided resources below on the impact of COVID-19 and helpful prevention responses. To further support foster carers, families and people with a disability, we have included links to resources, activity sheets, and tips for self-isolation.
Here at MacKillop, we will continue to care and support those who need it most. Through keeping our staff, families and children in our care safe and connected at this time, we are staying strong.
Resources for understanding symptoms, self-assessment and prevention
We need to work together to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Below are some resources to help you understand the symptoms, for self-assessment and prevention of the spread of corona virus.
Resources for families and foster carers
It’s important for parents, guardians or carers to be there for children in to ease any concerns they may have about the virus and how it could affect them. Below are some resources that can help you talk to kids about COVID-19 and some activities you can do with them at home.
- Activities and online resources for kids
- Brainy bingo
- COVID-19 for kids
- COVID-19 story and activity sheet
- From fear to hope workbook
- Health body bingo
- Home activities for children 0 - 16
- Jenga questions for virus discussion
- Paws4Kids activity pack
- Self care bingo
- Workout your name
- Free Physical Education lessons
- Free audio books
- Corona virus and pregnancy
- Corona virus information for young children
- COVID-19 online safety kit for parents and carers
- Drugs and corona virus
- Getting the COVID-19 test at a testing station or hospital
- Getting the COVID-19 test at home
- MacKillop staying at home toolkit for foster carers
- Q&A for carers and children in care (DHHS)
- Returning to school kit for carers
- Services and resources for parents
- Staying connected - a resource for foster carers
- Supporting children to adapt after lockdown
- Talking points for parents and teachers
- Talking to kids about COVID-19
- Tips and links to help families manage social distancing or self-isolation
- Tips for parents of children aged up to three
- Why schools have closed (a resource for young children)
ViralKindness is a hub for the community care groups springing up across the country to support people in need or in self-isolation during the coronavirus crisis. Whether it’s shopping for food, picking up medicine or a regular check in call – there are lots of ways we can stay together, even when we’re apart.
Resources for people with disabilities
Australians with disability are a vulnerable population in the COVID-19 pandemic and it has the potential to seriously impact disability service provider activities. Here are some resources to help you navigate the support that is available.
Resources for people working from home, self-isolation and mental health
Because of COVID-19, many people are finding themselves working from home for the very first time. This can be difficult and isolating. Here are some resources that will help you stay connected, healthy and productive.