From the CEO’s (Virtual) Desk: Perspective View

By Ann Leinfelder Grove, President and CEO

Like all of you, our organization has been hyper-focused on how to best respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. With so many details emerging about coronavirus and its potential long-term impact on our physical, social and financial wellbeing, it’s easy to get distracted.

Early on, our leadership constructed a human-centered frame to drive our work forward in uncharted times. The frame is simple but effective: Focus first on the safety and well-being of our clients and staff.

Our clients are often already in a vulnerable position; many are part of our system of care because their family has exhibited signs of abuse, maltreatment or neglect. In the COVID-19 world, they are experiencing the same issues along with many new barriers.

Times like this put added burden on our community’s already-fragile pillars of stability. For example, our youth transitioning to adulthood (YTA) clients may need assistance in any or all of these key areas – health, education, housing, employment and caring connections – under normal circumstances. We anticipate that this week’s Safer at Home order, scheduled to last a minimum of one full month, will bring to the surface many of the needs of our youth clients.

Read about our 5 Pillars of Stability. We are also watching closely for signs of increased anxiety and depression and have made our mental health therapists available through telehealth.  

Staff Support

We are an essential organization; much of our work is mandated and we care for children, youth and families who are on court orders. We are accustomed to face-to-face service delivery and staff are suddenly emerged in a virtual workplace.

We are needed in the community now more than ever and keeping our workforce healthy, stabilized and feeling supported is paramount. Our staff have set up home offices, created virtual learning environments for their kids and checked in on aging parents. Just as they’re ready to take a deep breath, it hits them – physical distancing leaves them feeling isolated.

Prepared for a New World

Even as we navigate this world of unknowns, one thing is clear: this outbreak has forced us to break out of our comfort zone and innovate. We have had to improvise more than once.

We have transitioned from home, school and clinic-based visits to standing up an entire protocol for Skype visits in a matter of days. In a normal business culture, that move to virtual service delivery would have taken months, not days.

Increase the Compassion Curve

We are determined to support our clients with the same level of commitment and compassion as always, even though we have modified service delivery. We recently revised our family stability screening tool, which is now being used twice a month to assess the needs of all clients and families.

It is not lost on us that our organization began 170 years ago in response to a serious health epidemic. Our mantra today is “Increase the Compassion Curve,” and our goal is for people to come through this crisis knowing SaintA was there for them during tough times.





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