Our commitment to essential services during COVID-19

To the editor:

The delivery of vital services to the most vulnerable among us has been the hallmark of Citizen Advocates for 45 years. Along the way, there have been challenges, but perhaps none as extensive as the COVID-19 pandemic.

We look proudly to our staff and supporters who have been at our side as we plan and act to continue our vital services during this exceptional period. We anticipate, plan and align ourselves as best we can toward this common challenge. Each day, we learn more and adjust ourselves to the situation as we know it.

Last night (Sunday), at 8 p.m., New York state entered into a complete shutdown and re-affirmed that we are an essential service. In terms of our staffing, all positions are considered essential.

This means that we are fully on board in providing direct care services at every level with Human Resources, Finance, IT, Support Services (Transportation and Facilities) and Compliance working around the clock to provide teams engaged in direct care with resources and support. Some support staff are working remotely, while others are directly in their location. Additionally, we are reassigning staff to support others outside their normal responsibilities.

Our health and safety is most important. Some of the measures we have taken: To avoid large groups, the Day Hab programs had been moved into the homes several day ago. Staff are being screened prior to entering homes, and we have developed a flexible plan to staff homes in new situations as they may arise. Being nimble and flexible is key.

Citizen Advocates has always recognized its role in the greater community and still remains a resource to it — even more. We are coordinating with Alice Hyde Medical Center, Adirondack Health and other local programs to provide extra capacity as may be helpful and necessary. There is a constant exchange of information to ensure full communication on a daily basis. We always communicate, but increasingly so these days.

While the horizon is not always clear in exceptional situations such as this, with new information coming our way almost minute-by-minute, what we do know is that the Citizen Advocates Family is up to the task and we will emerge even stronger.

We, as all senior leadership, will maintain a constant presence during this challenging time. It is important that we offer consistent, ongoing guidance and support. Of course, as circumstances change, we will communicate swiftly and appropriately. We are available every day should you need to reach out.

With gratitude for who you are as a team and for what you do day in and day out,

Martha J. Dishman

President, Board of Directors

and Jim Forbes

CEO (interim)

Citizen Advocates



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