1. What can children do if they are experiencing abuse at home?
In collaboration with Puppets in Education, the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital has put together this 9-minute video for children to learn what to do if they are experiencing abuse at home. Dr. Lewis First, chief of the Children’s Hospital offers advice to children. Here is a Summary and Resources and a Letter to Educators. For additional mental health resources, visit our website.
2. Are there any financial assistance programs for families of children with disabilities/special health needs who have been impacted by Covid-19?
The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) has a new program to provide financial assistance to eligible patients, covering up to $1,000 annually. The program provides funds for essential expenses including, but not limited to, unexpected utility expenses; cellular or internet service; emergency repairs to car, home or major appliances; and rent or mortgage payment assistance. Interested rare disease patients and families can contact NORD to find out if they meet eligibility requirements. Call (203) 242-0497 or email COVID19assistance@rarediseases.org. NORD also has a rare caregiver respite program offering $500 annually for those who qualify.
The HealthWell Foundation is offering grants up to $250 to assist qualifying applicants with costs associated with delivered food, medication, diagnostics, transportation and telehealth as a result of COVID-19 risk or incidence. Applications are only accepted by phone by calling 1-(800) 675-8416.
3. What can I expect in a Telehealth visit for my child who has a genetic condition?
Telehealth is using technology to connect with a health care provider who is at a different location than you. A Telehealth visit with a genetics provider is called “Telegenetics.” This short video provides information on what to expect from a Telegenetics visit from your home.
A Telegenetics visit is similar to an in-person genetics clinic visit. The genetics provider will ask you questions about medical history and family history. The specific things that happen during a Telegenetics visit depend on why you or your family member were referred for genetic services, and whether this is your first time seeing a genetics provider or a follow-up appointment. Sometimes a physical exam might be needed, in which case a local healthcare provider may help. Your genetics provider may also suggest some genetic testing. This one-page infographic “Telewhat? An Introduction to Telegenetics” provides information on how it works.
4. What resources are available to siblings (age 13+) of a child with special health needs?
Siblings of a child with special health needs who are age 13+ can connect with other teenaged sibs on SibTeen, a closed Facebook group co-hosted by the Sibling Support Project. There are also many books available for siblings of children with a range of special health conditions; check your local library’s ebook offerings. For any other questions about supports for siblings, please contact Mindy.Deibler@vtfn.org.
5. Can I be with my child who has a special health need/disability if they are in the hospital emergency room and/or are admitted to the hospital?
Yes, under some circumstances and depending on the specific hospital’s policies. Read the University of Vermont Medical Center’s Welcoming Policy – COVID-19: Effective Friday, December 15.
The Department of Vermont Health Access website states: During the COVID-19 federal public health emergency (different from the State of Emergency), Vermont is facilitating initial and continuous health care enrollment by:
- Temporarily waiving financial verifications required for those seeking to enroll in Medicaid;
- Extending Medicaid coverage periods (meaning the Department is not processing the annual “reviews” that could result in loss of Medicaid);
- Not ending Medicaid coverage unless the customer requests it or moves out of state (Note that, as of January 2021, Vermont is processing transitions between Medicaid coverage groups as required by the federal government);
- Temporarily waiving Dr. Dynasaur premiums;
- Offering a Special Enrollment Period for those who do not currently have health insurance to enroll in a qualified health plan and receive premium and cost-sharing assistance, if eligible. (Eligible Vermonters can continue to apply for, and enroll in, Medicaid at any time). This Special Enrollment Period is open through October 1, 2021.
11. I’m concerned about not being prepared in case of an emergency for my child with special health care needs. How can I feel better prepared?
We are the Vermont chapter of Family Voices, a national organization that has many helpful emergency preparedness resources on their website. Other emergency preparedness resources are on our website.
12. As part of emergency preparedness, I’d like to have a larger supply of my child’s medication on hand. Will Medicaid allow that?
Yes. “In response to COVID-19 concerns and to ensure that Medicaid members have access to the medications they need, the Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA) is implementing the following changes to its prescription drug benefits programs, effective 3/18/2020: 1. Members may request early refills of medication up to a 90-day supply as needed.”
13. Are there any COVID-19 resources specifically for parents of children with autism?
14. If my family loses health insurance due to a job loss, who should I call?
Your children may qualify for Medicaid, also referred to in Vermont as Dr. Dynasaur. Check this eligibility chart. Children with disabilities might also be eligible for the Disabled Children’s Home Care, also known as Katie Beckett Medicaid. Katie Beckett Medicaid will retroactively cover up to 3 months if there is a lapse in coverage. Contact us or Green Mountain Care for assistance. We can help you with a Katie Beckett application or renewal. You can also take a look at our Health Frequently Asked Questions.
15. Is there any financial help for my child’s medically-necessary expenses?
Yes, income-eligible families of children with special health needs (birth to 21) may apply for up to $1,000 per 12 month period for their child’s unmet medically necessary needs such as equipment, medications, travel, and therapies. More information here.
1. What guidance is the Vermont Agency of Education providing to schools?
With the end of the COVID-19 State of Emergency in June 2021, Vermont Supervisory Unions (SU/SDs) and Independent Schools are operating under advisory recommendations and considerations from the State of Vermont. School districts and independent schools have the responsibility and authority to set requirements and procedures to safeguard the health of students, staff and their broader community. Read COVID-19 Resource Center.
2. What happens to my child’s IEP should I choose to home school?
If your child is receiving special education and you are considering home schooling, please review VFN’s Home Schooling and Special Education webinar
3. Is there guidance from the Vermont Department of Health for schools?
Yes. The Health Department and Agency of Education have made recommendations to school districts on how to safely return to class this fall. They recommend that school districts require masks indoors for all students, of all ages, at the start of the school year. They also ask that districts require masks indoors for children under 12 years who are not able to be vaccinated at this time. Read the Department of Health’s Pre-12 Schools guidance.
1. What resources are available to help me feed my family?
Visit the Hunger Free Vermont website section “Covid-19 and Food Access” for the latest updates on school meals, WIC (nutrition program for Women, Infants, & Children), 3SquaresVT, meal programs for older Vermonters, and food assistance through the Vermont Foodbank network.
Vermont Legal Aid has a good list of resources on topics including: food, housing, benefits, etc.
What should I expect from my child’s CIS-EI service providers?
As of midnight on June 15, 2021, the Vermont’s state of emergency related to COVID-19 ended. All guidance issued under the authority of the Governor’s emergency order has been rescinded as of the same date.
There is no COVID-19 vaccine currently available for children under 5 years old. Masks are recommended for unvaccinated people (age 2 years and older) when inside, and are encouraged for all, regardless of vaccination status. This is the recommendation of the Vermont Department of Health. There are other ways to protect children and families from COVID-19 infection, such as staying home when you’re sick, and frequent hand washing.
- Ongoing CIS Guidance – 7/8/2021
- Guidance for In-Person Children’s Integrated Service (CIS) Delivery in a Child Care Setting – November 2020
- What to Expect from a Children’s Integrated Services (CIS) Provider Visit – November 2020
- CIS COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions – 9/18/2020
- Recording of a May 2020 Children’s Integrated Services webinar with the Vermont Department of Health on Community Based Services Restart Guidance – May 2020
- CIS Timelines COVID-19 Guidance – 4/23/2020
- CIS Telemedicine Guidance – 4/16/2020
- CIS Guidance specific to COVID-19 – 3/19/2020
What Covid-19 resources are available to share with English Language Learners? What resources are available for people who use American Sign Language?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention series of videos about Covid-19 in American Sign Language