School is starting and the many services that All Faiths Children’s Advocacy Center offers to its clients are still largely remote and provided by telehealth. I am sure this comes as no surprise as other agencies, institutions and even municipalities are re-instating their mask-wearing mandates and other safety measures while we all monitor the spread of the Delta variant.
Certainly, nobody expected that eighteen months into the pandemic, we would not yet be returning to our old normal, either in the office or gathering indoors. Yet with all its many hardships and challenges, COVID has also shown us alternative ways to reach clients who would otherwise be cut off from in-person services.
Remote access has allowed us to stay in touch with our clients and their families – and telehealth has permitted us to make it as personal as possible.
This pandemic has ushered in a new era in which the hardships that befall families are often more extreme. Not only do we have a more extensive demand for our services, but families are experiencing greater needs that requires they stay in our care for longer periods of time. And that, of course, means the “line at the door” is also longer.
This hasn’t come without a cost to staff. Working from home and struggling to separate work and its secondary trauma from one’s home life has proved to be challenging and sometimes impossible. The cases we met and the stories we heard before the pandemic were extraordinarily difficult – and COVID has only exacerbated the situation.
We ask that you remember that our therapeutic staff are front line workers, taking on the trauma of our children and families with courage and commitment. Their time, efforts and knowledge are the indispensable tools that serve our clients and make our community a better place for us all.
As an organization that provides services grounded in a trauma-informed approach, we fully understand that vicarious trauma is inherent to the programs we offer. We know that our staff’s repeated exposure to clients’ trauma can leave emotional residue and damage their quality of life. We recognize how essential it is to stand in their support even as they stand in dedication to our mission.
It is with this knowledge and concern for our staff that we have launched the Heal the Healers campaign, which is focused on providing support for staff – to protect and provide healing for those who are subject to vicarious trauma as they stand in the front lines of service. Visit the Ways to Give page on our website to learn more about Heal the Healers and how you can help support our staff as they continue to provide essential services to the children and families of our community.