XV. H. Emergency Response

Effective 5/1/08 - updated 3/2014

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XV. H. Emergency Response

Effective 5/1/08 - updated 3/2014

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The DHHS Child Welfare Emergency Response Plan consists of the State of Maine Employee Emergency Guide; copies should be with each employee, the Child Welfare Disaster Plan and addendum. The Child Welfare Disaster Plan is activated when ordered by the Director of the Office of Child and Family Services or designee and when Central or District Offices can no longer follow their usual procedures due to natural or man-made disasters.  Complementing The Plan will be the sound judgment of Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) leadership and staff, ongoing communication among affected parties and improvisation as needed to meet the specific conditions of an actual disaster.

Child Welfare Disaster Plan

Leadership

The Director of the Office of Child and Family Services has the authority to activate the Child Welfare Emergency Response Plan.  The Emergency Management Team, consisting of the OCFS Deputy Director, Associate Director of Intervention and Care, Associate Director of Policy and Prevention, Associate Director of Community Partnerships, Associate Director of Accountability and Information Services, Director of Mental Health Services, OCFS Medical Director, Child Protective Intake Manager, and Child Welfare Program Administrators of affected districts will assist the Director with the management of the emergency which includes ensuring that essential functions of the agency continue.

Emergency Management Team

The Emergency Management Team collaborates with the Director of the Office of Child and Family Services, Child Welfare Program Administrators, state agency authorities and others to assist with managing Child Welfare Services response to disasters.

Responsibilities of Emergency Management Team members include:

Initiate plan operation

Deliver communications to staff, clients and providers

Communicate with Commissioner or designee and with the Director of Public and Employee Communication

Coordination with DHHS officials and other departments of state government as necessary

Ensure Intake continues to function:  receive reports, communications hub if necessary

Facilitate relocation if necessary

Other responsibilities assigned by the Director of the Office of Child and Family Services  

 

Continuing Essential Functions of Child Welfare Services

Essential Functions

Child safety is the highest priority to be attended to during and after a disaster.  Knowing that staff as well as families we work with will be affected during a disaster, each office may not be functioning at full capacity.  To assure that essential functions are covered, staff may need to take on functions not normally part of their daily duties. All caseworkers, Performance and Quality Improvement staff, and other qualified staff could be called upon to perform any casework or support function as needed.  Essential functions include:

Child Protective Intake:  ensuring reports of CAN are received and assigned.

Responding to reports of CAN.  Includes assessing child(ren)’s safety and managing threats of harm.  If child(ren) are not safe at home an alternative plan must be developed and/or court action initiated.

Ensuring safety of children in state custody. Assessment of child safety as needed for children in DHHS custody or care.  Determining that child(ren)’s and caregiver safety needs are met.

Prompt family contact to share information on child/family situation related to the disaster.

ICPC disaster related functions, i.e. coordination and information sharing when children and families cross state lines

Court Hearings unless otherwise determined by the court.

 

Communications Plan

Emergency Management Team, coordinating with the Director of Public and Employee Communication, develops messages for families, providers and staff.  Message is communicated through a variety of means to ensure the broadest reach.  Means to be used for families and providers include:

 

News releases to radio and television stations, cable tv, newspapers

Information on the state (maine.gov) and OCFS (maine.gov/dhhs/bcfs) websites.

Intake

Means used to communicate with staff include the above and the use of phone trees.

Information could include office closures, current status of services and how to access them, disaster updates, toll free #s and other contact information, links to other resources, information for staff, status of MACWIS.

 

The Emergency Management Team is responsible for having on hand, a current list of newspapers, television stations and radio stations with their contact information and the OCFS website alert password.

 

Each district has a phone tree as determined by the Program Administrator

Emergency Management Team is connected to District phone trees through the Program Administrator and designee

Program Administrator and designee have the Emergency Management Team contact information

Staff to contact caregivers and children

Staff have programmed caregivers’ and supervisor’s contact numbers into their cell phones

Supervisors have programmed staff and other essential contact numbers into their cell phones

Intake to be hub for communication in the event that the District Office is down

Intake to temporarily relocate to a district office, MEMA or Public Safety if necessary

 

Information System Plan

Develop MACWIS Disaster Recovery Plan:  Contract to develop DRP that meets federal SACWIS requirement awarded to i-CST.  Plan to be completed by 12/31/07.

Information Services Manager or designee prints MACWIS Children in Care – Current Primary Open Placement Report weekly.

Information Services Manager or designee to load the following reports onto the SMT folder weekly

Children in Care – Current Primary Open Placement Report

Worker Demographic Report

Listing of  Assessments Report

Listing of Service Cases Report

Resource Capacity Availability:  Foster Care-Regular Report

Resource Capacity Availability:  Foster Care-CPA-Level of Care Report

AAG and judges contact information

Templates for Petition for Child Protection Order, Affidavit, Preliminary Child Protection Order, Proof of Service, Rehabilitation and Reunification Plan, Safety Plan, Purchase Order, Placement Agreement, Release of Information

Back-up system off-site is in place.

 

Office Disaster Supply Kit

The Program Administrator or designee will have a thumb drive containing the following information:

 

USB thumb drive with important documents loaded including:

oCalling Tree

oEmployee and management contact information and their emergency contact information (Worker Demographics Report to be developed)

oChildren in Care – Current Primary Open Placement Report

oResource Capacity Availability:  Foster Care-Regular Report

oResource Capacity Availability:  Foster Care-CPA-Level of Care Report

oListing of Assessments Report

oListing of Protective Cases Report

oAAG and judges contact information

oTemplates for Petition for Child Protection Order, Affidavit, Preliminary Child Protection Order, Proof of Service, Rehabilitation and Reunification Plan, Safety Plan, Purchase Order, Placement Agreement, Release of Information.

 Each District Office will have a disaster supply kit consisting of the following:

Supply of paper forms:  Petition for Child Protection Order, Affidavit, Preliminary Child Protection Order, Proof of Service, Rehabilitation and Reunification Plan, Safety Plan, Purchase Order, Placement Agreement, Release of Information

 

Paper copies of :

oCalling Tree

oEmployee and management contact information and their disaster plan contact information (Worker Demographic Report under development)

oChildren in Care – Current Primary Open Placement Report

oResource Capacity Availability:  Foster Care-Regular Report

oResource Capacity Availability:  Foster Care-CPA-Level of Care Report

oListing of Assessments Report

oListing of Protective Cases Report

oAAG and judges contact information

 

 

Radios and extra batteries or hand-crank radios

Disaster plans

Flashlight, lantern with extra batteries

First aid kit

Agency vehicles with at least   full gas tanks

 

Emergency Management Team and Central Office Disaster Supply Kit

The Emergency Management Team will have a disaster supply kit consisting of the following:

 

USB thumb drive with media outlet list, phone tree for Central Office including contact people in the Commissioner’s Office and other state departments, federal liaison contact info, neighboring state liaison contact information, OCFS website alert password and important documents.  The Director of the Office of Child and Family Services will determine who will have access to the thumb drive.

Employee and management contact information including their emergency contact information (Worker Demographics Report under development)

Children in Care – Current Primary Open Placement Report

Supply of paper forms.

Radios and extra batteries or hand-crank radios

Disaster plans

Flashlight, lantern with extra batteries

First aid kit

 

Staff

Encourage staff to develop personal disaster kit

Staff identify 2 contacts who would know where they are; at least one of them should be out of the area.

All employees will enter their name, address, home phone, work phone, work cell and both emergency contact numbers in MACWIS Worker Demographics using the specific fields and the text box pending MACWIS changes that will create field boxes for all required information

Staff will report to the next closest Child Welfare Services office in the event of office closure related to the disaster if directed by the Director of the Office of Child and Family Services,  Program Administrator or designee

Staff must check in after a disaster with Intake or other entity as identified by the Emergency Management Team or Program Administrator

Recognizing that staff would also be affected by a disaster CWS supervisors will work with staff to ascertain their need for assistance so that they may be able to attend not only to their professional responsibilities but also to their own safety issues.

 

Providers

Family caregivers will complete the Family Resource Disaster Plan as part of their Foster or Adoption Application and at their annual update and biennial renewal.  Each district will designate a caseworker to assist relative and fictive kin caregivers to complete the plan if the caregivers will not apply to become a license/approved resource.  Included in the plan are relocation and emergency contact information and agency contact requirements.  Each family will have an Emergency Supply Kit consisting of:

Water, one gallon per person per day for at least 3 days

Food, 3 day supply of non-perishable food

Battery powered or hand crank radio

Flashlight and extra batteries

First aid kit

Whistle

Moist towelettes, garbage bags

Wrench or pliers

Can opener

Medications

Medical equipment

Wired phone

 

 

Resource family disaster plan

Resource families will inform local first responders when a child with special medical needs is placed with them.

Residential facilities will follow emergency procedures as required by residential licensing regulations.  District staff will contact children in residential facilities to assess for safety as soon as possible.

MACWIS includes the resource family physical address, primary phone number and secondary phone number and fields as well as relocation and emergency contact information. 

Caseworkers with youth in independent living situations, children in trial home placements and in other unlicensed placements will acquire two emergency contact names and their phone numbers and addresses and record in MACWIS.

 

Coordination with Courts

The Director of the Office of Child and Family Services will inform the court administration of the development of the Child Welfare Emergency Response Plan.  Program Administrators and district Assistant Attorneys General will coordinate with local courts during an emergency.

Liaison with Federal Partners and Neighboring States

Director of the Office of Child and Family Services or designee will initiate and maintain contact with federal partners to communicate about waivers and about what is happening on state and federal levels in regard to the disaster.

Staff should document overtime and work done related to the disaster for possible reimbursement.

Director of the Office of Child and Family Services or designee will identify liaison in neighboring states, work with them to coordinate and share information when children and families cross state lines and will maintain complete contact information for those liaisons and their alternates.

Director of the Office of Child and Family Services or designee will ensure that federal partners and neighboring state liaisons have Emergency Management Team contact information.

 

Districts

Districts will go into "after hours services mode" initially in the event of a disaster.  Districts will determine who is available to respond to reports of CAN and inform Intake.  Districts will receive direction from the Emergency Management Team through the phone tree, Intake, media announcements and the OCFS web site regarding where to report to work and status of MACWIS.  District phone trees will be activated to provide direction and to obtain and deliver information from/to staff.  Districts will:

Develop a plan for continuation of services to include:

oAssessment of new reports within 72 hours of the report

oService provision to Child Protection service cases within 5 days of the disaster

oContact with children on caseloads and their caregivers to learn current situation, whereabouts, safety, needs, service provision as soon as possible

oContact with parents of children in custody to give them updates on child’s situation and to learn of parent’s situation, service provision as soon as possible

oCoordinate with other agencies that have information about child and family location, needs.

oIn the event that a child needs to be moved due to the emergency and another placement cannot be quickly located, with approval of the supervisor and PA the caseworker may take the child home with him/her.  Per the Director of the Office of Child and Family Services, Policy V. D-4 which restricts placement of children in state custody or care with employees will be temporarily abrogated.

 

Develop staff phone tree

Maintain list of District Court judges and AAG’s home phone number, cell phone, and address

When youth are participating in off-grounds activities, the trip leader or other adult leader will have control of medications and emergency and first aide supplies.

The Plan will need to be implemented incrementally in order to allow time for MACWIS changes that will enable the production of reports that include emergency contact information to occur.

155B HOSTAGE TAKING

If a hostage situation occurs, staff on the scene should follow the following guidelines:

1.Evaluate the situation.  Be very observant to detail.  (Perpetrator’s name, clothing, weapons, etc.)

2.Isolate the perpetrator from innocent bystanders or potential victims if possible.

3.Secure the perimeter.  Do not allow clients, staff, or visitors to enter the risk area.

4.Evacuate the area if possible.  If feasible, open outside window curtains and leave doors open.

5.Remain calm and attempt to keep others calm.

6.Dial 9-1-1 or attempt to have someone contact help.

7.Negotiate if possible if a rapport is existent.  Do not be condescending or sarcastic – be bold, confident and calm.

8.Avoid heroics.  Don’t threaten or intimidate.  Keep a safe distance and your hands visible.

9.Think about potential escape plan for yourself and other.

 

136B Roles of Management In Hostage Taking

1.Notify local law enforcement immediately and provide them with any pertinent information necessary.

2.Utilize cellular phones between the safe and crisis zones.

3.Notify all staff not in the crisis zone of the incidents.  (Evacuate immediately and calmly)

4.If staff or clients are advised to stay put, stay away from windows, drop to the floor, take cover, and wait for a signal.

5.Stay in constant communication with law enforcement.

6.Have a designee secure the doors to avoid innocent bystanders from complicating the situation.

7.Meet law enforcement officials at a pre-designated location and provide them with good directions to and description of the site.

8.Identify a safe place away from the building for interviews.

9.Once the situation has been resolved, the "all clear" signal should be announced.

10.Make sure master keys are readily available to responding law enforcement.