Dear Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts,
Across Indian Country, many Tribal Healing to Wellness Court (THTWC) teams are modifying services to provide ongoing support to their participants and curb the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Many tribal nations have issued declarations of a public health emergency, travel restrictions, stay at home orders, and/or closed access to their reservations or tribal lands. To help disseminate real-time responses, the Tribal Law and Policy Institute is sharing highlights from various THTWC teams and Tribal Courts about practice changes they are using as interim measures to support and serve their communities.
THTWC may ensure participants receive consistent services to support their recovery and graduation goals by focusing on their basic needs, safety, and well-being. It is crucial that THTWC teams collaborate with partners and promote well-being by offering increased opportunities for participants to stay connected, especially during this uncertain time.
Innovative practice modifications for serving participants:
Frequent Contact. Check-in with all participants frequently (e.g., at least weekly) to discuss access to basic needs, participant and family safety, and recovery supports.
Community Services. Compile phone numbers for essential community resources and offer virtual warm hand-offs to community support providers such as food banks and unemployment offices. Provide phone cards to ensure parents have minutes available to stay connected.
Community Support Groups. Connect participants with virtual community recovery support groups such as those offered by In the Rooms and Connections.
Treatment. Ensure access to treatment services. Providers are using telehealth platforms and offering telephonic sessions. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced enforcement discretion for remote communication during COVID-19, SAMHSA issued guidance related to emergency response and 42 CFR Part 2, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services published a telemedicine coverage fact sheet, and SAMHSA published guidance for MAT programs to support providers modifying practice in response to COVID-19.
Hearings and Staffing. Maintain standard reporting practices (e.g., submit weekly status updates) and host telephonic or video-conference hearings and staffing sessions.
For Family THTWC, Parenting Time. When face-to-face parenting time is no longer available, offer virtual parenting time using Skype, FaceTime, or phone calls. In these cases, establish a consistent schedule and communicate with all parties to ensure the schedule is maintained. Guidance for developing virtual parenting time plans is available through the University of Toronto.
For Additional COVID-19 THTWC Resources, please visit:
Thank you for your on-going efforts assisting families. Please be in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or solutions you would like to share with colleagues. Check our website regularly as we continue to disseminate innovative approaches to serving THTWC participants and tribal communities.
Tribal Law and Policy Institute