Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I hope you and your families enjoyed Easter despite the challenging times in which we are currently living. I would like to take this opportunity to commend our hard-working front-line responder members protecting juveniles in our custody – Field Staff, Pre-Trial Services staff, and Children & Family Service staff.
Due to your heroic efforts, dedication, and support, the Probation Department confirmed as of this morning that
not a single juvenile has tested positive for COVID-19
and we continue to protect DCFS minors in our care.
The Local 685 Executive Board and our Union staff have been relentless in reporting COVID-19 related information to ensure that members are safe and protected from contracting the COVID-19 virus. No additional members have confirmed positive tests since the Probation Department last reported on prob-net on Friday, April 10, 2020. We are awaiting figures from DCFS.
Both the Probation Department and DCFS have confirmed that employees who are unable to work or telework are eligible for the Families First Corona Response Act (
click here for form
) COVID-19 benefit leave provisions (up to 80 hours) subject to Department Head approval. Please review the form carefully as important benefits can be applied for to assist you during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is being distributed to employees at various work locations. Surgical masks were delivered on Friday at area offices; hand sanitizers, gloves, and other PPE’s have been ordered for distribution. DCFS continues to provide PPE at all sites.
Unified Single Department – Adult and Juvenile
At a time when the Probation Department is undergoing various studies, commission oversight, and Board motions to determine whether there should be two separate departments – for adult and juvenile populations – the COVID-19 health pandemic crisis has enabled the Probation Department to show how it is able to meet the emergency operational needs to protect juveniles in the institutions and probation camps.
The Probation Department’s current organization structure and redeployment capacity is flexible and adaptable to meet emergency conditions for juveniles and adults to assist in ensuring that Department operations, programs, and services continue without disruption.
Probation Officers are knowledgeable, skilled, experienced, and flexible in providing adult and juvenile probation services. It is because of this dynamic that the Probation Department has been able to ensure proper staffing levels, safe/physical distancing requirements, reassignment, and to provide for emergency deployments where necessary.
In the weeks and months ahead as we address the challenges that COVID-19 presents for Probation and DCFS services, it is the support of Local 685 members – and our Brothers and Sisters represented by SEIU and PMA – that are going to make the difference to make the Probation Department and DCFS more aware and flexible to meet emergency needs in the future.
We have a way to go before the COVID-19 pandemic curve is flattened, but I am truly proud of the willingness of Local 685 members to step up and support your Executive Board and your fellow staff in the Probation Department and DCFS.