Racial Disparities in COVID-19 Addressed through Newly Launched Westchester Program

FSW Announces First Initiative of Its Kind in County 

Denise Santiago, FSW Case Manager

July 22, 2020, Purchase, NY – Family Services of Westchester (FSW) today announced the launch of their Pandemic Supportive Services Program (PSSP), an initiative that supports clients and families who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are at a higher risk for health and economic challenges. For those in quarantine, FSW monitors physical and mental health, provides necessities, promotes education and prevents the further spread of the COVID-19 virus.

This is the first program in Westchester to provide a full slate of social and mental health services to clients who have positive with COVID-19 and are quarantined at home for fourteen days. Recent data shows that virus mortality rates for African-American and Latino people have been twice as high as those of white people, and FSW’s program was designed to address the disproportionate effects of the virus on people of color. FSW’s staff is equipped with the experience, resources and training to serve these communities. FSW’s initiative started in Mount Vernon and Port Chester and has now expanded across Westchester County. County residents who are COVID-19 positive can inquire about the program directly or are referred through the Westchester County Department of Social Services. Funding for this program was an initiative from County Executive George Latimer, the Westchester County Health Department, Department of Social Services, New York State Health Department and New York State Contract Tracers.

By staying in close contact with clients, FSW monitors clients’ health and provides them with reassurance, support, resources and education. Support and case management services include multiple daily virtual wellness checks, daily temperature checks, PPE supply “care packages,” three prepared meals per day, and referrals to services like healthcare providers, mental health services, child care and respite services.

To prevent the further spread of the virus, FSW ensures proper education on wearing PPE’s and disinfecting surfaces. A contact tracer interviews each client to identify people with whom the patients have been in close contact so the contact tracer can locate them.

“FSW has a long history of supporting the community as a lifeline during a collective crisis,” stated Polly Kerrigan, President and CEO of FSW.  “Through this no-cost program we are giving vulnerable clients the tools to cope and survive, particularly communities of color.”

Westchester County residents who have tested positive for the virus can learn more at https://www.fsw.org/covid19support.

General information on FSW’s resources and support during the pandemic are available at https://www.fsw.org/covid-19-fsw-responds.

About Family Services of Westchester

Family Services of Westchester (FSW) is a nonprofit organization operating in Westchester County, New York since 1954. With nearly 50 innovative programs, FSW provides mental health and social services that strengthen and support families, children and individuals at every stage of their lives. Learn more about FSW at www.fsw.org.