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ChildSavers accepting new patients for mental health services during pandemic

The local nonprofit has seen a 524% increase in telehealth sessions since the implementation of the offering in April.

RVAHub Staff

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Trauma-informed child therapy and child development services nonprofit ChildSavers continues to accept new mental health patients during the current health crisis. Since transitioning the majority of its mental health services to a telehealth model in response to the COVID-19 pandemic during the first week of April, ChildSavers has seen a 524 percent increase in virtual patient visits.

Virtual mental health sessions are held via Zoom with ChildSavers’ team of licensed professionals. The nonprofit accepts all Medicaid HMOs and most private insurance providers. ChildSavers will work with families regardless of their ability to pay. Sessions are about an hour in length once-a-week and focus on play therapy and building resiliency. Mental health therapy for Spanish-speaking children and families is also available.

“As the long-term mental health ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic largely remain to be seen among children, we want families throughout the Richmond community to know we are here for them,” said Katie Francis, program manager, mental health services at ChildSavers. “Our hope is that families who might be struggling with increased anxiety and stress during what are still uncertain times will take advantage of our telehealth services.”

In the past, federal holidays and winter and summer breaks have proved to be difficult times for ChildSavers’ clinicians and therapists to continue sessions with children. As a result of the implementation of telehealth technology, the infrastructure now is in place for the nonprofit to bridge the gap in reaching clients during traditionally difficult times to do so. Since implementing virtual sessions, ChildSavers is able to provide more per week: In April 2020 the nonprofit had 225 mental health sessions, compared to 183 sessions during the same time period in 2019.

“This has been a unique experience for everyone at ChildSavers, but we look forward to utilizing much of what we’ve learned during this time to be more effective in our work moving forward,” said Robert Bolling, CEO of ChildSavers. “We will continue to adapt our telehealth services as we work to bring trauma-informed care to a subsect of Richmond children who need us during this time and in the future.”

In addition to the teletherapy options, the nonprofit continues to offer therapy sessions from its East End location while taking precautions to help ensure the health and safety of families, children, and staff.

ChildSavers’ clinicians provide treatment for children and adolescents regardless of an ability to pay. For more information and to learn more about the organization’s mental health services, visit https://childsavers.org/ or call (804) 644-9590.

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Government

Henrico County names Meghan F. Coates new Finance Director after leading county through budget shortfall negotiations

Coates joined the county staff in 2019 as deputy director of Finance and most recently served as acting director of the department. She will succeed Edward N. “Ned” Smither Jr. in the position. Smither had led the department since 2017.

RVAHub Staff

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Henrico County has appointed Meghan F. Coates director of the Department of Finance, effective Saturday, August 1st.

Coates joined the county staff in 2019 as deputy director of Finance and most recently served as acting director of the department. She will succeed Edward N. “Ned” Smither Jr. in the position. Smither had led the department since 2017.

Coates was key to the county’s efforts this spring to navigate a $99 million shortfall — brought on by the sudden economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic — as Henrico was beginning its budget process for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

As director, Coates will head an agency with more than 160 employees and a budget of $13.7 million for the 2020-21 fiscal year. Finance comprises the divisions of real estate assessment, treasury, management and budget, accounting, purchasing, and revenue. Among its scope of duties, the department prepares and administers the county’s operating and capital budgets and Comprehensive Annual Financial Report; reviews, assesses, bills and collects taxes, licenses, and fees; assesses real estate and certain personal property, and purchases goods and services for general government departments and Henrico Schools.

Coates also will serve as commissioner of revenue and treasurer for the county, as prescribed by the Code of Virginia.

Prior to coming to Henrico, Coates held several positions with Chesterfield County, including budget analyst, budget manager and director of budget and management. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Roanoke College and a Master of Science from Virginia Commonwealth University. Coates is the mother of two daughters.

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Downtown

Daily Planet pleads with community for water donations for homeless during heatwave

The nonprofit needs supplies to distribute to the homeless population during the hottest time of year.

RVAHub Staff

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With Richmond already experiencing its first significant heatwave of the summer, and with more expected in August, Daily Planet Health Services (DPHS) is asking those that are able to, to donate bottled water and pre-packaged, single-serve snacks to the nonprofit. The supplies will be distributed directly to the homeless living around Richmond, helping to ensure this population has the necessary resources to stay hydrated and nourished during the hottest part of the summer.

This week (July 27-31), a DPHS employee will be set up to receive donations in the parking lot of the 517 W Grace St parking lot from 8:30 a.m.-noon. If someone would like to donate water or snacks outside of that timeframe, they can call the nonprofit at 804-783-2505 x 230 to set up a donation.

74 percent of DPHS’ patients are at or below the poverty level, and as the Healthcare for the Homeless Grantee, the nonprofit serves the region’s homeless. Typically, summer and winter months are the most difficult for these populations, but given the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, they now have even fewer resources available to them.

“With so many of the traditional places that our homeless population utilizes to cool off and hydrate during the hot summer months – like libraries, restaurants and community centers – either closed or drastically limiting capacity, many are left without an avenue to escape the heat,” said Taylor Garrett, outreach coordinator at Daily Planet Health Services. “We’ve unfortunately already seen firsthand this summer the dire impact the heat can have on the homeless population, and we’re hopeful that the Richmond community can come together to help us get nourishment to those that need it most.”

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Downtown

City to extend cooling station hours until 8:00 pm during heat advisory

In light of the recent extreme temperatures in the area, the Stoney administration is extending cooling station hours from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. to 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. while a heat advisory is in effect in the City of Richmond.

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In light of the recent extreme temperatures in the area, the Stoney administration is extending cooling station hours from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. to 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. while a heat advisory is in effect in the City of Richmond.

When the cooling station is open, but a heat advisory is not in effect, visitors will be welcome from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“This is a change rooted in compassion and common sense,” said Mayor Stoney. “I know how hot this city can get during the summer. Nobody should risk heatstroke because they are experiencing homelessness or lack access to adequate air conditioning.”

“It’s the city’s job to step in, reach out a helping hand, and prioritize public health.”

During the extent of the governor’s mask mandate, all residents who wish to use the cooling shelters must wear face coverings and practice social distancing where possible.

For more information regarding cooling assistance services, city residents should contact the city’s Department of Social Services Fuel Assistance Office at (804) 646-7046. Elderly residents with cooling related issues should contact Adult Services at (804) 646-7367. In the event of a heat-related emergency, please call 9-1-1.

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