Message from CEO Walter Philips
Dear Friends and Family,
I hope that each and every one of you and your families are safe and healthy during this national crisis. My heart goes out to those who have been infected by the virus and their family members. During this very challenging time, we know that the youth and families we serve are especially vulnerable. Youth who are experiencing homelessness, abused and removed from their homes, victims of human trafficking, those living in unsafe situations, others living in poverty and all the other youth we serve often have limited access to critical services, especially in these difficult times.
During this COVID-19 emergency, San Diego Youth Services is committed to the safety and well-being of our staff, youth, families and the communities we serve. Because we provide “essential services,” we are also committed to ensuring that the youth and families we serve still have their critical needs met and access to the help they seek, including during the new shut-down order for California from Governor Gavin Newsom.
Given the nature of our work, the vulnerable population we serve and that we are deemed to provide essential services, we can’t just simply shut down. As such, SDYS has implemented procedures to ensure safety and health, while still remaining operational. Services to youth and families are continuing. Our shelter for minors experiencing homelessness and other critical services are open, available and providing care and resources for youth in need.
As you can imagine, we’ve had to adjust how we provide services and operate our business activities. We have implemented safety (social distancing) and enhanced cleaning measures in our shelters, housing programs and drop-in centers for the homeless youth, which includes health screenings and information about the virus and potential testing sites. In addition, we have modified our service delivery model in our other programs, which includes the implementation of tele-services as much as possible.
We are also cognizant of our staff’s health and safety and are following all the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and local public health recommendations and orders. Therefore, we have maximized the capacity for our staff to work remotely unless it is essential for them to be on site. If necessary to be on site, we continue to practice social distancing, hand washing, enhanced cleaning of our facilities, limiting group gatherings to under 10 (only when necessary) and having those who are sick, over 65 or have underlying health conditions stay home. Even when it is essential, we are minimizing the number of staff physically on site at any given time.
We are reviewing the safety protocols in place daily with updates from the CDC, State of California and the County Public Health Department. Our policies and actions are based on the best and most current scientific information distributed by local, state and federal public health and government officials.
Please follow the CDC and County health officials’ information on how best to stay safe and healthy. For up to date local information you can go to the San Diego County’s website: County COVID-19 Website
CEO, San Diego Youth Services