The COVID-19 Pandemic generated an enormous impact on each and every one of us. Everyday at FFT we work together with diverse families, in diverse communities helping families manage ongoing challenges and risks.The impact on communities with high populations of marginalized individuals and minorities has far surpassed what many of us would have ever imagined over these past 18 months. The continuing Pandemic has highlighted the ongoing inequities that children and families from these communities face. The impact of the pandemic is equally disproportionate. Non-white and low income communties in the United States experienced higher COVID-19 infection rates and higher fatality rates. As a result we face a nationwide increase in concerns related to mental health, substance use, and suicidal ideation.
COVID-19 also has a significant impact on a workforce that made the choice to dedicate their lives to working with and in these communities. This workforce, that serves the Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice, Housing, Income, Elder Care and Educational needs of these communities, are predominantly women from diverse backgrounds. FFT Partners has seen first hand how this compassionate and dedicated group works tirelessly to provide continuation of services during a time when most service industries ceased. Staff grapple with how to maintain the safety of their clients, themselves and their own families, while also ensuring access to necessary and required services for children and families. For many, this means continuing to meet with clients in person, learning how to navigate telehealth and adjusting to constant changes surrounding their personal and professional lives.
As the Pandemic continues, we recognize the toll it takes on this workforce. Stress levels and burnout rates are increasing with the insurgence of COVID infection rates again. Talented staff are finding it harder to sustain community based work and are finding jobs in settings that do not require home based treatment. Candidates to fill positions are lacking and organizations work for months to fill vacancy positions. I fear that our communities' most needed services will experience staffing shortages that rival those of the hospitality industry and that our front line providers in health, mental health, child welfare, and other social services will take years to recover. As the pool of these dedicated staff shrinks, we risk widening the inequities already in play for children and families from low income communities.
At FFT Partners, we feel it is important to specifically address these issues in collaboration and partnership with the agencies we serve. We constantly look for ways to better prepare our own Senior Consultants/Trainers and the therapists and supervisors that work with us. Specifically we are:
Adding additional training time to the already rigorous training of an FFT Partners Senior Consultant/Trainer to better prepare them to support the teams and agencies they train and supervise.
Checking in with our individual therapists and the teams regarding their health, wellness, confidence and proficiency to prevent turnover. In some instances we have added additional supervision and support time for therapists who are struggling.
Advocate for community agencies and therapists to directly speak about the current COVID issues with families. We strive to educate and provide support and encouragement to keep families and therapists safe.
Studying the impact of COVID on the typical service delivery of FFT to determine further changes in training delivery and in delivering treatment through technologies such as online training, webinars and through the use of telehealth.
Providing agencies with assistance in recruiting and hiring through use of our website to announce available positions, providing job descriptions and qualifications for therapists, assisting with interviews/questions and any other support they may need.
If you have an interest in becoming an FFT Consultant or Therapist we would like to hear from you. Please contact: Ann Ranalli (firstname.lastname@example.org)