COVID-19: DHS Partners

The information on this page is for DHS partners who provide behavioral health services.

Coordinated Services Teams Initiatives

Thank you for working on the front lines with children, youth, and their families who struggle with mental health during COVID-19. We appreciate your commitment to serving your community. It is a stressful time for all of us and those we wrap around need regular connection and encouragement to make it through the pandemic. We are in this together. Ask for what you need, we are here to support you and the families you work with. Visit the CST: Providers webpage for contact information for DHS staff.  

We understand that you may be uncertain as to how to meet new and emerging needs of the families you work with and may be looking for guidance and support. We have researched best practices and resources to support you and the families you work with during this time.

Guiding principles of wraparound during COVID-19
  • The family team is the foundation of wraparound. Be curious about what they need to meet their roles, goals, and responsibilities during the pandemic.
  • Natural supports are the key to keeping the child and youth in the community. It is an opportune time to acknowledge creativity and innovation in the new ways we are connecting. The Search Institute offers many resources you may find valuable. 
  • Coordination can be more of a challenge with social distancing. The plan of care, wellness plan, and crisis plan may need to be revised due to new needs or a change in resources. 
  • Be curious about new individual, team, and community strengths that have emerged. Many of us have skills that lie dormant until the need arises. Support and encourage your emerging leaders.
  • Developmental needs are impacted by stress. Be sensitive to a lapse in developmental growth. Social and emotional safety is most important at this time; nutrition is also important to developmental growth. 
  • Family and community cultural values and beliefs shift in the midst of emergencies. Provide a supportive listening ear and build on strengths.
  • Unconditional care is even more important when families are under additional stress. Unconditional care requires our own self-care. The DHS COVID-19: Resilient Wisconsin webpage offers many ideas on how to take care of yourself. 
  • Outcome measurements may need to be adjusted due to the pandemic. Meet with the family teams to reevaluate goals and objectives.

Following the guiding principles ensures that we give the best wraparound experience even in times of uncertainty and change.       

Information from the National Wraparound Initiative 

Wherever possible, wraparound teamwork, process, and quality assurance activities should continue at the same frequency and intensity, even if the methods need to be temporarily modified to protect the health and safety of staff, children, families, and team members. Wraparound is defined by child and family team meetings and the convening of a team of important people in each family’s life. These meetings are essential for development and implementation of the plan of care and should occur no less frequently than 30 to 45 days. The National Wraparound Initiative offers additional resources on working with family teams during the pandemic.       

Information regarding schools and families

Parents may be experiencing additional stress right now due to school closures because of the added responsibility of supporting their children’s learning. It might be helpful to note that, although school districts are providing opportunities for learning, most school districts and teachers also recognize that this is a very stressful time for students and families. The Department of Public Instruction has encouraged school districts to support student’s physical and emotional well-being during this public health emergency. This is an opportunity to help families build resiliency to minimize the lasting impact of emotional distress or lasting trauma. To put things into perspective, 2 1/2 months of distant learning is approximately 2 percent of a child’s 4K-12 education. Many school districts are providing meals for students through the free and reduced meal program or other community organizations.  Contact your school district for distribution information. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has information on COVID-19 relating to schools and the U.S. Department of Education has additional information on providing services to children with disabilities during the pandemic. 

Information on how to talk to children about COVID-19

In this very difficult time, children are receiving information from multiple sources, including the internet, television, friends, teachers, and parents. The information, whether accurate or not, can lead to fear and anxiety with everyone including children. When speaking with children about COVID-19, it is important to consider developmental and emotional differences. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, UW-Madison, the UW-Madison Center for Healthy Minds,  and Resilient Wisconsin all have strategies, tips, and ideas for talking with children about COVID-19. 

Crisis intervention services

The Division of Care and Treatment Services is hosting weekly meetings for professionals involved in responding to behavioral health crisis situations to discuss challenges and solutions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mondays from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Join the Zoom meeting

  • Online: https://dhswi.zoom.us/j/9116812169 
  • Call: 253-215-8782 or 301-715-8592 (Meeting ID: 911 681 2169). (Mute your phone and do not place the call on hold at any time.)

To access the downloads discussed during the meeting, join the meeting through Adobe Connect.

Community Support Programs

The Division of Care and Treatment Services is hosting weekly meetings for professionals involved in Community Support Programs to discuss challenges and solutions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Fridays from 9:30-10:30 a.m.

Join the Zoom meeting

  • Online: https://dhswi.zoom.us/j/9116812169 
  • Call: 253-215-8782 or 301-715-8592 (Meeting ID: 911 681 2169). (Mute your phone and do not place the call on hold at any time.)

To access the downloads discussed during the meeting, join the meeting through Adobe Connect.

Comprehensive Community Services

The Division of Care and Treatment Services is hosting weekly meetings for administrators and directors involved in the Comprehensive Community Services program to discuss challenges and solutions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wednesdays from 1:00-2:30 p.m.

Join the Zoom meeting

  • Online: https://dhswi.zoom.us/j/399275502 Meeting ID: 399 275 502
  • Call: 312-626-6799 (Meeting ID: 399 275 502).  Mute your phone and do not place the call on hold at any time.

Audio recordings of previous meetings
Use Internet Explorer to access these recordings.

DHS 35 and DHS 75 certified providers

All providers certified under Wis. Admin. Code ch. DHS 35 and Wis. Admin. Code ch. DHS 75 are encouraged to participate in a weekly webinar. This webinar features information regarding the COVID-19 public health emergency and an opportunity for providers to share questions and concerns with DHS staff from the Division of Care and Treatment Services, the Division of Medicaid Services, and Division of Quality Assurance.

Fridays (every other week) from 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
(The next scheduled webinar is June 19, 2020.)

Join the Zoom webinar 

Video recordings of past Zoom webinars (April 17 and later)

Audio recordings of past Zoom meetings
Use Internet Explorer to access these recordings.

Join our email list: Sign up to receive email notices about this webinar series.

Preadmission Screen and Resident Review

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has implemented a blanket 1135 Preadmission Screening and Resident Review (PASRR) Waiver related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is up to each state to determine if implementation of the waiver would be best for the state. Wisconsin will not be implementing this waiver. This decision was made because the vast majority of PASRR screens in Wisconsin do not require face-to-face contact. There was also a concern that implementing this waiver would result in a large backlog in screens. Therefore, the PASRR process will remain unchanged in Wisconsin during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last Revised: June 3, 2020

 RESPONSE RESOURCES FOR WISCONSINITES — www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/help.htm