LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Child welfare workers who relied on virtual technology for some non-emergency family visits during the pandemic are now prioritizing face-to-face meetings as a better way to identify abuse and neglect, the Department of Children and Families Services said today.
The department highlighted the essential work done by more than 800 emergency response social workers who are on duty to respond in person to allegations of abuse or neglect that come in around the clock to the Child Protection Hotline.
One DCFS emergency response worker said the coronavirus is just one risk factor among many that she has to consider.
“The day I was hired, I took an oath to serve the greater Los Angeles area, in good times and bad,” Tania Cendejas said in a statement issued by the department. “This is what public service is about.”
As thousands of county employees began working from home to slow the spread of COVID-19, social workers never stopped making in-person visits, but relied on virtual platforms to manage some family interviews and check-ins to better manage the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
Regular monthly in-person visits resumed in June. The department projects that by the end of July, all of the roughly 36,000 children supervised by DCFS will have been seen in a face-to-face, or more accurately, mask-to-mask, meeting.
In addition to the use of personal protective equipment, social workers disinfect surfaces, wash hands and practice social distancing to ensure the safety of everyone involved.