In Minnesota, our response to the COVID-19 outbreak has naturally been reactive in nature.

The effect of COVID-19 on our society has been far reaching.

To keep our communities safe, we have all made adjustments to our daily lives. We have stayed home and practiced social distancing. We wash our hands often with soap and running water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. We cover our coughs. We sanitize our surroundings. Our “new norm” requires the use of masks when social distancing is not possible.

Restaurants, hair salons, gyms, taverns, schools, businesses and even churches have had to restrict access. Parents and students have had to master the art of distance-learning. Workplaces have restructured personnel and staffing. Many employees are now working from home.

Our focus can now shift to a proactive nature.

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The Minnesota Department of Human Services is urging all Minnesotans who are responsible for the care of a child to make a plan now for alternative short-term care for their children in the event a parent or guardian becomes ill.

To support families in this process, the Department of Human Services developed “Minnesota, Make a Plan!” which guides families through a process to identify possible caregivers, gather vital family and child information and share their plan with others.

Every family’s needs are different. You know your family's strengths, situation and children best.

It is important to plan in the event you become ill or are hospitalized. Who will care for your children?

Where will they be caring for your children? Are there any underlying health conditions?

You may need more than one caregiver. Think broadly of neighbors, friends and other people you trust and who your children know. “Minnesota, Make a Plan!” has additional questions to lead you in planning to care for your children.

Once you have discussed an emergency plan it is time to put it on paper. To make this easier, The Minnesota Department of Human Services developed the voluntary COVID-19 Family Planning and information kit. You can complete the kit online and save it or print it out to add your information.

The final step in creating your plan is critical. Share your plan. Let people know that you have an emergency plan created for your family. Depending on the age of your child, you may want to review the plan with them.

It is never too early to develop a plan for your family. It is also important to revisit existing plans and make any necessary changes. Having a plan for your children helps alleviate stress in the event of an emergency.

There are resources to help if you need help creating a plan or don’t have someone who can care for your child. Call the Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-657-3903 for assistance and to learn about resources and alternate care options.

For more information regarding “Make a Plan, Minnesota!” follow the link: https://bit.ly/2YY2a9i