TNOYS has compiled guidance, resources, and information to support youth service providers in responding to COVID-19. We are in regular and close communication with state leadership, as well as state and federal regulatory agencies relevant to youth services, and we will continue to update this resource center as appropriate.
Please navigate to resources based on the following topics:
- TNOYS Guidance and Resources
- Updates from State Regulatory Agencies
- Updates and Guidance from Federal Agencies
- Resources for Preventing Trafficking, Abuse, and Neglect
- Resources on Organizational Leadership
- Past Events: Recordings, Slides, and Takeaways
TNOYS Guidance and Resources
Guidance for Providers and Feedback for Regulatory Agencies
TNOYS’ Guidance for Providers details considerations, resources, and operational procedures to support providers in developing emergency response plans and implementing recommended public health protocols.
TNOYS has published blog posts on the following topics that may be of interest to service providers:
- Resource Pages to Assist Your Organization’s COVID-19 Response
- How COVID-19 is Impacting Youth Issues (Posted April 27, 2020)
- New Resource to Assist Frontline Workers with Child Care (Posted April 15, 2020)
- Summary on TNOYS’ Virtual Meetings in Response to COVID-19 (Posted April 8, 2020)
- Federal Funding Available for COVID-19 Relief (Posted April 3, 2020)
- Activities for Youth in Residential Facilities (Posted April 2, 2020)
- Accessing Meal Assistance for Families in Need (Posted April 1, 2020)
- Bulk Groceries for Residential Providers (Posted April 1, 2020)
- Balancing Youth Safety and Independence (Posted April 1, 2020)
- TNOYS is Distributing Cloth Masks (Posted March 31, 2020)
- How to Access Hand Sanitizer (Posted March 31, 2020)
- Working from Home (Posted March 25, 2020)
- Remote Case Management (Posted March 20, 2020)
- Member Spotlights: Emergency Response Plans: Covenant House Texas and Houston:reVision (Posted March 19, 2020)
This document provides an update on the challenges that youth-serving providers are facing in light of COVID-19, TNOYS’ response, and needed support from regulatory agencies, leadership, and philanthropy.
Local Health and Emergency Officials
Because many decisions are being made at the local level, TNOYS recommends that service providers stay in regular contact with local health officials and local emergency operations centers to receive updates that may impact their services and guidance on responding to health concerns locally.
- Locate Local Health Entities on the Health and Human Services website.
- Find details on Emergency Operations Centers in each county on the Texas Disaster Medical System website.
- Texas Division of Emergency Management Regional State and District Coordinators carry out emergency preparedness activities and coordinate emergency response operations in each region.
Updates from State Regulatory Agencies
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS)
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has a Coronavirus Resources webpage with information and resources for parents, caregivers, and child welfare service providers. The webpage includes specific guidance on what to do if you feel sick, working with the public, and preparing households, as well as FAQs and updates on Texas efforts.
- Resources for Contracted Service Providers
- Resources for PEI Providers
- Resources for Residential Child Care Providers
- The Texas Youth Helpline provides 24/7 prevention and support services to youth, parents, and caregivers
- STAR Health’s Behavioral Health hotline provides 24/7 support to youth in DFPS conservatorship and their caregivers. For English or Spanish, call 1-866-912-6283. For all other languages or deaf/hard of hearing, call 1-866-912-6283
- Resources to Support Caregivers and Recommendations for Supporting Caregivers
DFPS continues to release guidance and updates for providers and agency staff:
- Tips for Residential Caregivers from Child Protective Services (link)
- Protocols for Family Based Safety Services and Family Reunification (link)
- Maintaining Family Connections Virtually: Tips and Resources (link)
- FAQ for Virtual Visitation (link)
- Tips for Caregivers from Child Protective Services (link)
- Tracking COVID-19 Expenses (link)
The CANS 2.0 Assessment used by DFPS is now available via telehealth for all children and youth ages 3 to 17 in conservatorship. To get telehealth CANS 2.0, call Mosaic (within Pathways Youth and Family Services). If you need assistance or have any questions, please contact STAR Health Member Services at 866-912-6283.
Regional Preparation for Adult Living (PAL) Coordinators may be able to assist transitional age youth with PAL requirement waivers, as well as help transitional age youth and youth who have aged out of care access other supports and resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 may create additional stressors for youth and families, increasing the risk for abuse and neglect. Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) programs provide additional supports, including counseling, to families. Locate PEI programs in your county on the DFPS website.
Guidance and Announcements from DFPS:
- All Monitoring Activities Resumed (May 18): Residential Contract Monitoring staff will resume all monitoring activities. See the planned roll out and read the full announcement here.
- Face to Face Contacts Resumed (May 12): Beginning May 11, caseworkers across Texas resumed seeing children in person for monthly contact visits. Read the full announcement here.
- Resuming Unannounced Awake Night Supervision Monitoring Visits (May 6): Effective May 1, DFPS resumed all in-person unannounced 24-hour awake night supervision monitoring visits. DFPS will no longer conduct virtual visits to facilities or homes with more than six children. Read the full announcement here.
- Guidance on Extended Foster Care During COVID-19 (April 30): This letter provides information and guidance on extended foster care eligibility during the COVID-19 crisis. If you are working with a young adult who is at risk of not meeting eligibility requirements or have questions about these requirements, please contact one of the State Office Transitional Living Services staff listed in the letter. Read the full letter here.
- Guidance on Health Visits for DFPS Residential Contractors (April 23): DFPS recently released detailed information related to completion of the 3-Day Medical Exam, EPSDT/Texas Health Steps exam, and the CANS assessment. Read the full guidance here.
- Essential Monitoring of Residential Child Care Providers (April 20): DFPS will resume unannounced 24-hour awake night supervision monitoring visits. New precautions will be in place to mitigate the risk of exposure to, and spread of, COVID-19. Read the full letter to learn more.
- Guidance on Testing Youth for COVID-19: CPS created a mailbox to report when a child in your care receives a COVID-19 test. Superior will then follow up with additional support and notify the CPS caseworker. The address is email@example.com
- Guidance for CPS Residential Contractors (April 6): It is never acceptable to send a youth in DFPS care to an emergency room or urgent care if there is not an emergent medical condition that needs immediate treatment. Current considerations for who should undergo testing include youth who have symptoms compatible with COVID-19 infection; however, decisions for testing should be in conjunction with your local health authority or STAR Health medical provider. Read the full guidance here.
Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHS)
In response to many questions and concerns regarding variances to Residential Child Care Licensing (RCCL), HHSC has issued this guidance letter. RCCL has provided guidance that variances CANNOT be requested regarding staff background checks but can be requested for ratio requirements, Face to Face visits for CPA’s, CPR/First Aid, Medical and Dental Visits, and EBI Training. Request variances through your Child Care Licensing Account.
HHS launched a statewide COVID-19 mental health support line to provide 24/7 support to Texans experiencing anxiety, stress, or emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 833-986-1919.
Texas Department of State Health Services
This COVID-19 webpage provides up to date information on the virus, including what to do if you’re sick, testing information, prevention tips, and a case tracking dashboard that is updated daily. The information for Communities & Other Groups links directly to CDC guidance for work, schools, events, community and faith-based organizations, community mitigation strategies, high-risk individuals, pregnant women & children, homeless shelters, and mental health. For local assistance, please visit DSHS Local Health Entities, which provides contact information for COVID-19 assistance by county. Follow @DSHS on social media for real-time updates.
This interactive COVID-19 testing map shows all the locations in Texas where you can get a COVID-19 test, including contact information, type of testing offered, and similar information.
Texas Education Agency (TEA)
TEA’s COVID-19 Support and Guidance provides information and resources on education, nutrition, and similar topics related to children and schools. Sections of note for youth service providers include:
- Additional Re-Opening Guidance, Including Options for Online-Only Start
- Instructional Continuity Planning
- Special Education
- Special Populations
- Special Education and Special Populations
- Public Health Resources
- Child Nutrition, which includes FAQs on child meal programs; Rural school meal delivery support; and more.
TEA continues to release guidance and resources for providers, students, and families. Check back regularly for updates. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have specific resource requests.
- Guidance for Students Experiencing Homelessness
- Guidance for Foster Care Students
- Guidance for English Language Learners
- Guidance to Districts on Providing Internet to Students
- Guidance on Information Technology
- COVID-19 Finance, Waivers, and Grants (also see: U.S. Department of Education Funding Flexibilities)
- Mental and Behavioral Health Support
- Remote Counseling and Student Support
- Guidance on Providing Multi-Tiered Systems of Support
- FEMA-Related Issues
- Special Education FAQ
Texas Meal Finder shows where families can access free meals. Other meal finders include School Meal Finder and Meals to You. This nationwide waiver allows parents and guardians to pick up meals for children.
Texas Education for Homeless Children and Youth (TEHCY)
This resource page provides resources to support students experiencing homelessness during the pandemic. Resources include:
- Contact information for the Homeless Education Liaisons in the public Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) in Texas
- Guidance for Students Experiencing Homelessness
- Supporting Students Living in Hotels and Motels
- Supporting Students Living in Shelters
- Supporting Students Living in Doubled Up Situations
- Identification Tool for School Staff
Office of the Texas Governor’s Child Sex Trafficking Team
The Office of the Texas Governor’s CST Team is working with TNOYS to get supplies out to organizations serving youth who have been trafficked or are at risk of being trafficked. If your organization is serving, or has the capacity to serve, this population, please contact TNOYS for more information on how you may be able to access these supplies.
The CST Team is also partnering with 3Strands Global Foundation to offer PROTECT Texas © to providers free of charge to assist in training staff and providing at-risk youth with prevention education. PROTECT Texas © is a human trafficking prevention education and training program designed to reduce the vulnerability of exploitation by identifying and preventing human trafficking using an evidence-based, trauma-informed education curriculum. Visit https://protectnow.org/ to learn more.
Texas Children’s Commission
The Texas Children’s Commission developed a webpage to share COVID-19 resources related to child protective service cases, including court orders by county. Resource letters compile key resources and updates for attorneys, judges, and similar child welfare stakeholders.
Updates and Guidance from Federal Agencies
Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a series of guidance documents on how to prepare for, and respond to, COVID-19. Their website includes resources, updates on travel, latest cases, FAQs, what to do if you are sick or at higher risk, and more. The CDC provides guidance and information for specific communities, including information relevant for service providers, working with children and youth, and residential facilities.
Their information for Schools, Workplaces, & Community Locations includes a number of critical resources, including steps to stay safe, how to prepare, and specific guidance for before, during, and after an outbreak in your community based on setting/provider type. Guidance that may be relevant to youth service providers includes At Home, Community- and Faith-Based Organizations, Homeless Shelters, K-12 Schools and Childcare Programs, Correctional and Detention Facilities, and At Work. Additionally, the CDC has specific pages for Long-Term Care Facilities and Nursing Homes and Shared Congregate Housing which provides valuable information for residential facilities, Healthcare Facilities, and more. CDC regularly releases new information and guidance, such as guidance for homeless service providers, guidance in correctional and detention facilities, and strategies to optimize the supply of PPE, so check back regularly for new information.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
HUD created a COVID-19 Information and Resources webpage with specialized guidance, funding opportunities, and unique considerations for programs serving homeless populations. The Disease Risks and Homelessness page includes guidance for preventing and managing the spread of infectious diseases in multiple homeless settings, as well as access to resources and webinars concerning COVID-19.
- The Atlanta CoC triage-screening tool assists shelters and housing programs to modify shelter management strategies in light of the emerging COVID-19 concerns. You may be able to adapt the tool for use in your own programs.
HUD provides detailed directions for accessing and using HUD dollars to respond to COVID-19 in your organization or community. Additionally, HUD released Homeless Assistance Waivers the first week of April.
- Available Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) funding from CARES Act
- The ESG Cares First Allocation Programming Plan was approved by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) Governing Board on April 23. Learn more about accessing these funds here.
- Available Waivers for ESG, Continuum of Care (CoC), and HOPWA programs
- CARES Act Flexibilities for ESG and HOPWA Funds
- CARES Act Flexibilities for CDBG Funds
- Use of HOME Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) for COVID-19 response: Information on availability of waivers and guidance on use to support urgent housing needs
- Using CoC Program Funds for Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response
- Using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for Eligible Activities to Support Infectious Disease Response
- HUD released a new landlord engagement tool to help homeless service providers support their clients in retaining housing through the pandemic.
Supporting Foster Youth:
- Foster Youth to Independence Tenant Protection Vouchers are new Housing Choice Vouchers available to assist eligible youth with housing for a period of 36 months. Learn more about requirements and how to apply here. Read the full notice here, and find additional information here.
- HUD awarded over $24 million to help children in foster care.
Administration for Children and Families, Family & Youth Services Bureau (ACF, FYSB)
ACF encourages human services agencies to follow CDC guidance. However, they have provided grant flexibilities to their grantees. Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center (RHYTTAC) recently put online a new resource center for Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) grantees. Useful resources include:
- FY2020 COVID-19 Supplemental Funding Guidance: ACF Reporting Requirements for FYSB RHY Programs
- FY2020 COVID-19 Supplemental Funding Examples of Allowable Uses of Funds
- FAQs for RHY programs provides additional information on grant flexibilities
- Guide for youth and young adults helps them navigate and understand the economic impact payments.
- Non-Congregate Approaches to Sheltering for COVID-19 Homeless Response
- Information and guidance on temporary increase in Federal Medical Assistance Percentage Rate (FMAP) used to determine the federal share of expenditures for assistance payments
- FYSB recently announced the release of funding opportunities for Basic Center Programs (applications due 7/3/2020), Street Outreach Programs (applications due 6/29/2020), and National Communication Systems (applications due 5/13/2020)
U.S. Department of Education
COVID-19 Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel provides guidance, resources, fact sheets, and important information on funding and waivers for schools, higher education institutions, and students and their caregivers. Notable resources:
- The Office of Civil Rights released a webinar on online education and website accessibility.
- Guidance for interruptions of student related to COVID-19
- Federal Student Aid issued information for students, borrowers, and parents
You can also find important information on federal funds available to support students during the educational disruptions caused by COVID-19.
- Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund: Part of this grant will go towards emergency financial aid grants to help students with unexpected expenses related to the pandemic. The grant also includes funding to help institutions of higher education adjust to changes caused by the pandemic.
- Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund: The application specifically asks states to describe how they will use the grant to serve disadvantaged populations, including students experiencing homelessness, students in foster care, English-learners, racial and ethnic minorities, and low-income students. The allocation table lists the amount each state will receive.
- Education Stabilization Fund
- Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund: On April 23, Secretary DeVos announced that more than $13.2 billion are available to support continued education for K-12 students. Education leaders have the flexibility to use these funds for immediate needs, such as tools for distance education, ensuring student health and safety, and developing and implementing plans for the next school year. Read the full announcement to learn more.
Small Business Administration (SBA)
Legislation at the Federal level has been passed to provide funding supports for small businesses and non-profits to weather the current economic crisis. There are two types of loans available: Paycheck Protection Program and an expansion of the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) program. Due to response to Covid-19, the EIDLs have been made easier to apply for, and the application is open to more small business. If following guidelines EIDL loans can be forgiven, effectively making them grants. Organizations can receive up to $10,000 advance within 3 days of application. The advance, whether a loan is approved or not, does not need to be paid back. You may apply on the SBA website.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Department of Homeland Security
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response page provides resources and guidance for individuals, organizations, and governments. You can also visit this page to learn more about what FEMA is doing to distribute medical supplies, manage the national response efforts, and coordinate with international, state, and local entities.
- This fact sheet provides guidance for private nonprofit organizations on applying for funding through FEMA’s Public Assistance program, including eligibility requirements.
- FEMA will support non-congregate sheltering for health-related needs, such as isolation or quarantine in a hotel. View FAQs and this fact sheet to learn more.
To learn about local coordination, see FEMA Region VI, which supports Texas in emergency response. Locate State Hazard Mitigation Officers by state to learn more about accessing Hazard Mitigation Assistance sub-grants.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The Trump Administration recently released new tools to accelerate relief for state Medicaid and CHIP programs. CMS developed four tools that will improve states’ abilities to serve vulnerable populations and support health care providers impacted by COVID-19.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
USDA’s COVID-19 webpage provides information on accessing food and nutrition in your community. Notable resources include the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, the Meal Finder for children, and their Federal Rural Resource Guide.
United States Interagency Council on Homelessness
This resource center provides guidance, examples, and free webinars for homelessness service providers in COVID-19 planning and response, including funding, community examples, and using technology.
- Supporting Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness During the COVID-19 Outbreak includes questions and answers to consider when supporting students and young adults experiencing homelessness.
- Federal Programs that Support Individuals Experiencing Homelessness provides a comprehensive guide to federal assistance that may be available to support your organization and/or clients.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
SAMHSA provides resources and guidance for mental health professionals, such as Training and Technical Assistance Related to COVID-19; Tips for Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation; and a Disaster Planning Handbook for Behavioral Health Treatment Programs.
Office on Trafficking in Persons, Administration for Children & Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The Office in Trafficking in Persons (OTIP) provides COVID-19 resources, services, and supports for serving children and adults who have experienced trafficking. The following benefits and services supported by OTIP continue to operate normally: National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888 or text 233733), Domestic Victims of Human Trafficking Program, Trafficking Victim Assistance Program (1-800-307-4712), and Eligibility Letters for Foreign National Adult and Minor Victims of Trafficking. Details on these services can be found on OTIP’s COVID-19 webpage.
Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
OVC has a number of grant and funding opportunities available to strengthen services and supports to victims of human trafficking. OVC will be hosting a series of webinars to help applicants understand the grant requirements and prepare their applications.
- Services for Minor Victims of Sex Trafficking: This grant is intended to help develop, expand, and strengthen assistance programs for minor victims of sex trafficking. The application deadline is May 29, 2020. Learn more and apply here.
- Improving Outcomes for Child and Youth Victims of Human Trafficking: This grant is intended to support programs and activities that aim to improve statewide coordination and multidisciplinary collaboration to address human trafficking involving children and youth. The application deadline is May 18, 2020. Learn more and apply here.
- Services for Victims of Human Trafficking: This grant aims to support services for victims of all forms of human trafficking throughout the United States. The application deadline is May 18, 2020. Learn more and apply here.
This document, published May 22, 2020, provides actionable guidance to state and local officials to prepare for response and recovery options amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Resources for Preventing Trafficking, Abuse, and Neglect
TNOYS’ CSEY Resource Center for Preventing and Responding to Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Youth
TNOYS has compiled a list of quality resources to support youth service providers in preventing, identifying, and responding to child sex trafficking (CST) and commercial sexual exploitation of youth (CSEY). Topics include prevention, screening tools, interventions and approaches, service delivery, hotlines, and more.
National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)
NCTSN released a Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with the Coronavirus Disease 2019 to help parents and caregivers consider how an outbreak might affect their families and what they can do to prepare.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s NetSmartz page provides critical resources to educate children and youth about online safety.
Be Strong Families
The COVID-19 Support webpage provides resources to help families stay strong in light of COVID-19, including webinar series on vitality and protective factors.
Resources on Organizational Leadership
National Guidance on Emergency Homeless Services for Youth and Young Adults
A Way Home America, National Innovation Service, True Colors United: National Youth Forum on Homelessness, Youth Collaboratory, and Funders Together to End Homelessness partnered to develop guidance to local communities toward the goal of ensuring youth and young adults are not left out of the resource conversations surrounding COVID-19.
Getting to Yes: Working with FEMA to Fund Non-Congregate Shelter During COVID-19
National Low-Income Housing Coalition published guidance on establishing statewide plans for FEMA-reimbursable non-congregate sheltering amidst the pandemic. It includes step-by-step recommendations for priming your community to make the most of this opportunity to serve vulnerable populations.
The Experience of Foster Youth During COVID-19
The Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice, and Research at the University of Pennsylvania released preliminary results from a survey of youth aged 18-23 who are in or recently aged out of foster care on their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Past Events: Recordings, Slides, and Takeaways
April Virtual Meetings on COVID-19 Response Efforts
Source: Texas Network of Youth Services (TNOYS)
Over the past two months, TNOYS has hosted calls for service providers for peer-to-peer information sharing and learning on how others have transitioned their work to support youth and families. The calls have included updates and new guidance from state agency officials, as necessary, but the intention was to use the majority of the time for providers on the ground to share and ask each other questions, as well as to inform how TNOYS staff will continue to support youth-service providers. Take a look at notes from our first four calls here.
Weekly Virtual Office Hours: Serving Youth Experiencing Homelessness
Source: National Network for Youth, National Safe Place Network, and National Runaway Safeline
Watch recorded virtual office hours from past weeks.
- Wednesday, March 25: Delivering Street Outreach and Drop-In Center services during a shelter-in-place order. Watch recording.
- Wednesday, April 1: Stipend and additional pay for front line staff. Watch recording.
- Wednesday, April 8: Licensing and engaging with youth people (Part One). Watch recording.
- Wednesday, April 15: Self-care, FEMA, and engaging with young people (Part Two). Watch recording.
- Wednesday, April 22: Self-care for frontline workers. Watch recording.
- Wednesday, April 29: Challenges, tribulations, and triumphs from the front lines. Watch recording.
- Wednesday, May 6. COVID-19 Federal Partners Webinar. Watch recording.
RHY COVID-19 FAQs Listening Session
Source: Administration for Children and Families, Family & Youth Services Bureau (ACF, FYSB)
Biweekly Virtual Conversation with SHC on COVID-19: Questions, Strategies, Information
Source: SchoolHouse Connection
Every other week, SchoolHouse Connection is going live to share their latest updates on COVID-19 and children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness. Register for future webinars here. Watch recordings of all past webinars and virtual conversations here.
COVID-19 Webinar Series
Source: National Alliance to End Homelessness
The National Alliance to End Homelessness has hosted webinars covering topics such as understanding and planning for federal funding, protocols for addressing sheltered and unsheltered homelessness, and more.
Watch recordings and download content and takeaways from past webinars here.
HUD’s Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs (SNAPS) Webinars and Office Hours
Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s SNAPS Programs
HUD’s SNAPS Programs invites homeless assistance providers to participate in regular webinars and Office Hours to discuss COVID-19 planning and response. View recordings and slides from past webinars and office hours here.
Center for School Behavioral Health Webinar Series
Source: Mental Health America of Greater Houston
Mental Health America of Greater Houston provides great training content and webinars related to COVID-19, student mental health, and self-care. Access the webinars here.
COVID-19 and Texas Homeless Education
Source: Texas Education for Homeless Children and Youth (TEHCY)
Watch past webinars on topics related to serving students experiencing homelessness amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.