FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Director of Development & Outreach
Familylinks Partners with Allegheny County and UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh to House Teens With COVID-19 Diagnosis
Familylinks facility provides temporary quarantine housing and services for youth in foster care or unstably housed
Pittsburgh, PA, April 6, 2020 … Familylinks reported today that the agency has transitioned one of its residential facilities to provide temporary quarantine housing, all basic needs, support programs and treatment services for youth who are in foster care, homeless or unstably housed, under the supervision of the Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS). The agency’s Teen Healing Center (Center) opened on March 30, 2020, for teens, ages 12 through 21 who have tested positive or presumptive positive for COVID-19, where they can recover in the Familylinks’ apartment-style facility.
Don Goughler, Interim President and CEO of Familylinks, commented, “We are pleased to have been able to quickly respond to this need for youth in our region as identified by DHS. Our Center will house youth connected with the county’s Office of Children, Youth and Families that require space to isolate and/or quarantine. We will be able to care for up to 15 youth at any one time, and many more as needed when spaces become available as youth are deemed ready to return to their family or previous residential setting.”
He continued, “We are grateful for the support of our third partner in this effort, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, including Dr. Elizabeth Miller and the clinical team who will oversee the medical services for youth at the Center. Together our three organizations will provide a proactive, comprehensive response to families and youth affected by COVID-19.”
Marc Cherna, Director of Allegheny County DHS, noted: “Over the past three weeks, the County has worked tirelessly to implement solutions that will enable us to protect the most vulnerable members of our community, and provide the proper level of care for those experiencing COVID-19. We also immediately recognized the need for isolation and quarantine locations to lower the number of people in congregate settings. Our partnership with Familylinks and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is one of many efforts we have implemented to address COVID-19 issues in this time of urgent need.”
“It is an immense privilege to be part of this collaborative effort to ensure that our young people have a safe environment in which to recover. I am so profoundly grateful to DHS and Familylinks for their ongoing commitment to serving the most vulnerable in our communities,” said Dr. Miller, director of the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine and medical director of Community and Population Health at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
In addition, Familylinks is using tele-medicine, Zoom and video conferencing to deliver regularly scheduled services to the children, adults and seniors who turn to Familylinks for a variety of support programs. Familylinks is one of several local nonprofit agencies that have been designated as “life sustaining” by the Governor’s directive. Along with direct service delivery through today’s technology, staff are answering calls to the agency’s information line as normal, and the agency is continuing to accept all referrals. Several staff openings are available at Familylinks, and a full listing can be viewed at www.familylinks.org.
Familylinks is a nonprofit organization committed to building healthy communities by strengthening individuals and families through the provision of comprehensive, quality services. By believing in the worth of those served, Familylinks assures that all children, families and seniors in western Pennsylvania have the tools they need to be healthy, happy and strong for life. Last year alone, the agency served nearly 10,000 people. These individuals range from children to seniors, in a variety of neighborhoods, income groups and beliefs. They all have one thing in common - when they turn to Familylinks in their time of need, we are here for them. To learn more, visit www.familylinks.org.