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COVID-19: Apart, We Stand TogetherCOVID-19: What to Do

The COVID-19 event continues to affect families in Texas. Strengthening families and communities has never been more important than it is right now. That’s why PEI is compiling family and caregiver resources alongside public health information for you.

PEI Provider Guidance
8/6/20

PEI released guidance on 7/31/20 providing temporary flexibility regarding collecting parent/guardian signatures on the Client Enrollment Form for new program participants and on the Annual Data Authorization form for returning program participants.

This guidance specified that if the grantee is unable to collect a certified electronic or physical signature, PEI will accept verbal consent from a parent/guardian, consent from a text or email or other means a grantee is able to obtain consent without requiring additional follow-up to collect a physical or certified electronic signature.

PEI would like to clarify that any enrollments that received verbal, email, text or other alternative forms of consent since March 25, 2020 will be accepted, even if you have not been successful in following up to collect physical/electronic signatures on the PEI Enrollment or Annual Data Authorization form.

PEI will notify grantees when verbal, text, email or other alternative forms of collecting consent is no longer allowable and only electronic/physical signatures should be obtained.

Please reach out to your Program Specialist or Contract Manager if you have any questions.

PEI Provider Guidance
7/31/20

PEI provided some additional flexibility around parent/guardian signatures on the Client Enrollment Form for new program participants and on the Annual Data Authorization form for returning program participants. [read guidance]

PEI Provider Guidance
5/14/20

We know that as much as Texas is doing to reopen, this pandemic will not be quickly resolved. We cannot move into Fiscal Year 2021 without thinking about how we will continue to provide a variety of opportunities to engage and connect with families. PEI is committed to working with you as we begin to move out of “crisis response mode” and begin planning for a more sustained and long term response to achieve the best outcomes for children, youth and families in your communities. [read guidance]

FAQ for PEI Providers
3/30/20

We know these are challenging times, for families, for agencies and for communities. We are humbled by the creative and responsive work each of you are doing in communities across Texas to ensure families have support and resources to weather this crisis. As we continue to work with our providers and grantees across the state, we would like to provide some updates and clarifications to frequently asked questions (FAQ) as you work to address the evolving needs of families and staff.

PEI Provider Guidance
3/18/20

We appreciate your patience as we all try to respond to the rapidly changing circumstances and do our best to adjust to the needs of our communities, families, and staff. Based on input PEI has received from its network of contractors and grantees, we are offering the following guidance to assist you and your communities if you are affected by COVID-19. Instructions for obtaining authorization and documenting expenses are available as a PDF.

Message to PEI Providers
3/13/20

We understand you have a lot of questions and are working diligently to develop guidance to help you navigate providing supports to families while ensuring your health. Your health and well-being are of upmost importance to us, as is the continued support and opportunities you provide to families in your community.

In determining how your agency is going to respond to COVID-19, we encourage you to follow the instructions of your local health authority, agency policy and put the health of the public first. While DFPS has suspended all non-essential work travel through April 30th, including in-person training and gatherings of 100 people or more, we are still seeing clients and visiting people’s homes. We anticipate that many communities may face disruption to regular activities in the coming weeks, and we commit to working with you to plan for potential program and budget changes needed.

Maintaining contact with the children, youth and families we serve will continue to be an essential function for PEI providers. As such, we thought the following information would be helpful:

  • Management should stay in close contact with your local jurisdiction regarding safety protocols to ensure a coordinated approach to service delivery.
  • Continue to complete minimum monthly contact requirements as defined by your contract.
  • Staff conducting any visits with youth/young adults/families or community partners in homes or offices should contact them by phone prior to in-person contact to inquire if there are currently any illnesses. If so, consider conducting client contact through alternate means such as phone, FaceTime or other virtual platforms that work for your agency.
  • When planning for or at the time of a home visit, if a client or family member reports being sick, staff must inform their supervisor and discuss plan for alternate arrangements to maintain client contact until all members of the household are well (e.g. at least 24 hours with no fever, vomiting, etc.)
  • To prevent stigma and discrimination, do not make exposure risk determinations based on race, ethnicity or country of origin and be sure to maintain confidentiality of people with illness and confirmed COVID-19.
  • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer before and after home visits or meetings in addition to washing hands frequently.
  • Limit physical touch (e.g. – shaking hands) with others.
  • All contacts are to be documented accordingly, per typical practice expectations.
  • Continue to offer or coordinate needed supports, such as needed financial supports, purchase of groceries through gift cards (e.g. – food, cleaning supplies, disinfectant, etc.) and other standard purchasing protocols. Continue to share information about other available community resources, information and referral networks, hotlines, etc.
  • If it is believed that any of these decisions will have a detrimental effect for a child, youth or family, please elevate the concerns as appropriate.
  • If it becomes necessary to modify the array of programs, or their method of delivery, in response to direction from your local public health official, you must notify your contract manager and program specialist so we can provide any necessary support.

The Administration on Children, Youth and Families has provided information to address and mitigate the spread of COVID-19; you can read their letter here.

For local assistance, see the listing of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Local Health Entities. Check the DSHS website for the latest details and what Texans need to know about COVID-19.

We will continue to provide you additional information and guidance as it becomes available. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at the PEI News email box.