San Bernardino Child & Family Services

Start Date: 08/06/2020


We had been requested to visit SB County CFS offices in early April for employee de-stressing. This contact was made at the SB Self Care Summit in February 2020. Getting into SB county offices has been a challenge, so, participation in the summit and invitation to the CFS offices was huge. This was cancelled due to the COVID 19 pandemic. It was then rescheduled for early July, when county offices began to re-open, but this was cancelled 24 hours prior due to offices re-closing to non- employees. On August 6 we were able to visit 2 offices in the Western Region (Fontana and Rancho Cucamonga).

SB County offices are adhering to COVID 19 re-opening protocols, handlers had their temperature scanned upon arrival. We worked in a large conference room that has been basically unused since April. Dog teams were easily distanced and employees interacted one at a time. All employees were wearing masks and we requested hand sanitizer be available for employees to use when they entered the room. We placed our trading cards on the table next to the hand sanitizer (this reduced contact and served as a gentle reminder to use hand sanitizer prior to interacting with our dogs). All employees wore masks at all times.

The timing of our visit worked out well as employees had just been informed that they would be resuming face to face visits with all of their clients (creating additional stressors for many employees). One employee came in and sat with Beth & Harley and broke down crying, sharing what a difficult week they had.

While at the second office I was given a message (and received an email) from the Deputy Director of the Eastern Region requesting visits be scheduled for their offices (this is still being arranged).

Several employees verbalized how much better they felt after petting the dogs. One remarked to her supervisor that she would be willing to have a higher caseload if they had dogs there each week. Another employee remarked about how the country has flooded them with information on self (trainings, emails, etc...” “but this is the only thing that helped”. All were very gracious,

Agency: San Bernardino Child & Family Services

Beth Houser & Harley, Jackie Stewart & Stanford