FCSD COVID-19 Programming
As always, the health and safety of our staff and the families we serve is of utmost priority. As we all navigate the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pacekids is committed to supporting the achievement of learning outcomes and goals for the children in our programs by being creative, adaptable and flexible with program delivery. Our goal is to continue to provide safe, consistent, and effective programming for families through a modified delivery model that includes virtual video sessions and in-person delivery options available if requested (up to 50% of the sessions).
Infant & Family Support Program (6 months – 3 years old) – The Infant & Family Support Program emphasizes Pacekids’ family-centred approach by supporting both the development of a child, as well as the functioning and development of the family unit. A Generalist works with a child to target the goals identified by parents, explaining the strategies they are using, and helping to ensure parents are getting their questions answered. Goals can be targeted to help a child both in the home environment and community environments (i.e. grocery stores, libraries, places of worship, etc.).
Developmental/Behavioural Supports (6 months – 12 years old) – Ideal for a child who has specific and complex goals that would benefit from the support of a Therapist. Contracts can involve up-to-two Therapists who work with parents/guardians to review concerns, suggest strategies and work directly with the child where possible. Goal areas can be targeted to help address concerns both in the home and community environments (i.e. grocery stores, libraries, places of workshop, etc.)
Specialized Services (2 years – 10 years old) – Specialized Services is a program that is designed to work directly with children with disabilities and their families. By utilizing multiple therapists, the trans-disciplinary approach allows the team to work collaboratively to meet the various needs of a child and their family. Goals are often related to the areas of behaviour management, social interactions, communication, cognition, gross and fine motor development, mobility and functional daily living skills.
Triple P Positive Parenting Program (2 years – 17 years old) – The Positive Parenting Program is a system of supports offered through weekly sessions via Zoom. Triple P aims to work with parents to use Positive Parenting Program strategies to develop a positive relationship with their child, encourage appropriate behavior, teach their child new skills, manage misbehavior and implement planned activities routines for high-risk parenting situations.
We understand the importance of having an Aide and the significant impact they can make to your family. Aides have always been a critical and valued member of our service delivery team. We did not make this decision lightly.
We have identified one of the riskiest components of our programming is having multiple staff visit multiple client homes for 1.5+ hour sessions every day. Many of our staff, under typical circumstances, can visit up to four different homes a day. Even with the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), the risks presented would not allow Pacekids to confidently reassure families or staff that we are taking appropriate measures to minimize the risk of COVID-19.
To help minimize the risk for all stakeholders, our new protocols restrict the number of in-person sessions to a maximum of two per day. This protocol will help staff ensure they have the time to take the proper cleaning and preparation measures between sessions and minimize exposure to multiple families over a short time period.
Unfortunately, these restrictions significantly impact our ability to provide consistent and full employment for our Aides. At most, we would only have part-time employment opportunities for Aides, requiring most Aides to have other employment – further increasing the risk of exposure. It would also impact the ability to hire and retain Aides. We know from families that frequent turnover of Aides and waiting for possible Aide matches is stressful for the family, and impacts progress in their priority goal areas.
With the inability to provide consistent and reliable employment for our Aides, and the inability to provide timely and longer-term Aide matches for families, out of fairness for both groups, we believe at this time it is best to focus on a program model that offers more consistency for all.
Ultimately, all families must be prepared to receive all of their sessions 100% through Zoom. Although we hope to have in-person options available, the ability to maintain these options will be impacted by COVID-19 cases and related risk.
If in-person programming is available, families may be able to choose between one of three programming models.
- Option 1 – 100% Zoom sessions
- Option 2 – Mostly Zoom sessions, with in-person sessions only if clinically required
- Option 3 – Split of Zoom and in-person sessions (approximately half of the sessions to be delivered via Zoom and half in-person)
In conjunction with Zoom sessions, there are three different levels of in-person programming based on COVID-19 risk and capacity of delivery.
- Sessions held at Pacekids’ north office
- This option is currently available for contracts where an in-person session is critical to the clinical programming and support of goal areas.
- We will continue to have a space at Pacekids’ north office dedicated to FSCD sessions, following specific health and safety protocols.
- Sessions held outside (backyard or local park/green space) – Available option as of September 8th
- Weather permitting, outside sessions are an option for in-person sessions and will help minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
- Protocols for these sessions are being finalized and will be shared with families prior to booking.
- Sessions held in-home – Potentially available option as of October 12th
- The earliest Pacekids anticipates being able to return to in-home sessions is October 12th. This date and related protocols will be confirmed by October 5th.
- If a home is being used for another business such as a day home, we will be unable to deliver in-home sessions.
Families are not required to have in-person sessions and can continue to receive all programming via Zoom sessions.
As noted above, the availability of in-person sessions will depend on COVID-19 cases and related risks. These options may be suspended at any time if the risk to families and staff is determined to be too high.
Video sessions are different than receiving programming in-person, but we have had great success! Families tell us the first couple of sessions can feel weird, but once they see the impact the Pacekids’ Therapist is having, it quickly becomes the “new normal” that generates results. Zoom allows the Pacekids Therapy team to have private conversations with parents about any challenges, observe situations that naturally occur without other people physically in the room, play virtual games to target development, demonstrate strategies, and find other opportunities to creatively support your priority goal areas.
Modified programming will be in effect until at least August 31, 2021. We will review the revised programming structure in June 2021 to confirm the structure of programming beyond August 31, 2021. When Aide supports are reintroduced to programming, it may take a few months to secure an Aide match for all families looking to resume in-home Aide programming.
From our understanding, the majority of providers are not in a position to guarantee in-home programming due to the unique nature of the work we do, and the enhanced risks associated with COVID-19. Our suggestion is to reach out to your FSCD Worker as they may some options to suggest.
Unfortunately, this is not an option. Funding from FSCD is set-up in a specific way that means the funding from your family DBA/SPS contract cannot be split between a service provider such as Pacekids, and a DBA/Specialized aide you pay directly using the DBA/SPS funding. It is our understanding if you want to hire an Aide privately, you will have to hire your whole Therapist team privately as well.
If you are open to receiving programming without an Aide, we are in the process of expanding our Therapist supports to open more spots for families to move onto a caseload and start receiving active programming. Due to these evolving changes, we are unable to estimate wait times at this point.
If the modifications we have made to our FSCD programming does not meet your family needs, we can take your name off our waitlist while you work to find programming elsewhere. We recommend families reach out to their FSCD Worker to discuss other options.
Pacekids programming is available until 6pm Monday – Friday. We are unable to offer programming later into the evening or on the weekends.
Due to COVID-19 and the related safety risks, at this time we are not offering any programming at a daycare or in a day home.
We understand your concerns about possible regression. Pacekids has been working with families since Spring 2020 on maximizing the success of Zoom/video sessions. If in-person programming were to be temporarily suspended, we would work with you to find creative ways to support your concerns and focus on your goals through other means such as dropping of resources and video sessions.
Our team members all have a variety of experience and education that directly support our commitment to family- and client-centred programming. We have an in-depth hiring process to ensure the individuals we’re hiring have experience working with children with disabilities, a passion for the work we do, and a commitment to making a difference in the lives of the families they work with. Our hiring efforts focus value-based recruitment ensuring team members work collaboratively with all members of the team and the families on their caseload.