This page was last updated:23rd April 2020

Caring for looked after and adopted children during the coronavirus pandemic

Foster/kinship carers and adoptive parents

At a time when contact has to be virtual, the BBC has produced a useful guide that will show you how to make a video call using a smartphone, or receive one using your desktop computer - or help you explain how to do so to others.

Carers UK has some ideas for your wellbeing action plan. These tips are designed to help both you and those you care for look after yourselves and protect your mental wellbeing.

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The Fostering Network has a coronavirus hub, with pages for fostering services and foster carers,

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Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for local authorities on children’s social care. This guidance is for local authorities, those who have corporate parenting responsibilities, and local safeguarding partnerships who work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in their area. It will also be of interest to social workers, residential care providers and staff, and those with safeguarding responsibilities, as well as foster carers and those in the process of becoming adopters.

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Guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This advice is to help adults with caring responsibilities look after the mental health and wellbeing of children or young people, including those with additional needs and disabilities, during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Experienced foster carer of sibling groups, Martin Barrow, tells that nothing prepares you for being a foster parent during a global pandemic.

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A series of blogs about therapeutic parenting throughout the lockdown and children not being at school, including implementing PACE, top tips for children who are out of school, and self-care.

Coronavirus has created a major health crisis that impacts on every individual and family across the UK. Children are included in this. However, there also needs to be a specific focus on the impact on children when their parents or other members of their family, foster carers or adopters are having to respond to the crisis by making major adjustments to their lives. The impact that this has on them cannot be underestimated. CoramBAAF explore the impact on looked after children and the key issues to keep in mind.

Coronavirus has created a major health crisis that impacts on every individual and family across the UK. Children are included in this. However, there also needs to be a specific focus on the impact on children when their parents or other members of their family, foster carers or adopters are having to respond to the crisis by making major adjustments to their lives. The impact that this has on them cannot be underestimated. CoramBAAF explore the impact on looked after children and the key issues to keep in mind.

Briefing from CoramBAAF about the risks and challenges for foster carers during the coronavirus pandemic.

This pack includes a range of digital resources to use with children and young people to promote good mental health. Pertinent at this time when young people are spending all their time at home and more time online. Includes information and advice on keeping children and young people safe online; mental health related apps; and how to use Guided Access if you have an iPhone to prevent children and young people misusing it.

Information on the emotional consequences of exposure to massive incidents among children and adolescents. It describes the criteria for the identification of more serious mental health disorders, and proposes strategies for the referral and management of children at different developmental stages. Areas covered are emotional vulnerability in children and adolescents in disaster situations, children's emotional response to disaster, specific interventions, prevention and detection of mental health problems, 

To find out about the impact of school closures on care experienced children, Adoption UK ran a week-long survey in April for parents and carers of care-experienced children who would normally be in school. The 674 responses form the basis for this report,which opens a window on the challenges of supporting vulnerable children’s learning at this time, and makes recommendations for the months ahead.

Video chatting is a useful way for keeping children and family members connected when there is distance between them. Video chats can give children an opportunity to build relationships, communicate with, and learn from family members on the other side of the screen.  Although not specifically aimed at foster carers, this article gives tips on supporting children using video chants and fun activities to incorporate into video chats. Includes links to other websites with tips for engaging babies and very young children with others via video.

For some children and young people virtual family time might be upsetting, and phone calls and messages might be more manageable. But, where appropriate, video calling is a fantastic way to feel close to friends and family when we can’t visit them. To help foster carers navigate this new challenge and enable children and their families to continue to enjoy time together when they cannot meet face to face, The Fostering Network have put together this list of things to consider.

Some ways in which foster carers can support children’s learning during the current coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus has created a major health crisis that impacts on every individual and family across the UK. Children are included in this. However, there also needs to be a specific focus on the impact on children when their parents or other members of their family, foster carers or adopters are having to respond to the crisis by making major adjustments to their lives. The impact that this has on them cannot be underestimated. CoramBAAF explore the impact on looked after children and the key issues to keep in mind.

Press release from the Department for Education announcing that up to £8 million from the Adoption Support Fund will be available to pay for different types of therapeutic support for families whose adopted children may have already suffered trauma and be made more anxious owing to the uncertainty of the effects of the virus.

NHS services have been issued with coronavirus prioritisation instructions. This alters how they will be working over the coming months. They are prioritising certain aspects of clinical care and have stopped providing other services. CoramBAAF have itemised the NHS Community Health Services that are most likely to host LAC health professionals/services, and principles and guidance are based on the need to take account of NHS prioritisation instructions, and adhere to public health safety guidelines, but at the same time maintain a clear focus on safeguarding children in a period when there will be different and potentially increased risks to children and young people. Moving children safely into adoptive placements at the moment should be seen as a priority where there are approved adopters and matching is already in progress. This needs to be on a case-by-case basis. These notes were shared with representatives from NHS England safeguarding team and RCPCH prior to publication.

This paper, from the House of Commons Library, provides brief information in response to some key questions regarding the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on separated families, maintenance arrangements and access to children, including those who are in care.

Videos

Dan Hughes talks to foster carers, adopters, parents under pressure and all adults around traumatised children as we navigate our way through the coronavirus pandemic.

In this video, Dan Hughes talks about living and parenting during the coronavirus crisis.

Foster carer Bryony talks about some of the main things which have changed in the system since the outbreak hit.

Colby Pierce, an Australian clinical psychologist and author who assists children and families overcome adversity and experience strong and secure attachment relationships, has made a series of short videos available to foster and kinship carers, to assist them manage the impact of the current pandemic on the children and young people in their care, and themselves. The first video briefly introduces the Triple-A Model and how it explains what is happening for children and young people, and ourselves. Colby then introduce the CARE Model, a framework for understanding what a therapeutic care environment looks like. The following videos further explain why CARE is important and how it is able to be enriched by following a straightforward and practical method. The final video is about a straightforward approach to looking after ourselves that does not require extra time and money and is achievable in this time of restriction and confinement. There is also a short article about preserving placements during a pandemic, and you can purchase the accompanying handbook to download for $9.90 (£5.10).

Kinship carers

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Grandparents Plus supports all kinship carers. They have a page of information and advice on coronavirus including tips for kinship carers by kinship carers, plus advice for kinship carers who have children’s services involvement and the impact of coronavirus on kinship families

Facilitating communication with parents and other family and friends can help keep children and young people safe by keeping them at home. This is a very difficult time and we know that many kinship carers are grappling with numerous challenges, including trying to keep everyone in their household safe. Family Rights Group have produced this guide to help maintain virtual contact at a time when physicl contact is prohibited and hope that kinship carers will find these top tips useful. They will also be useful to foster carers.

Facilitating communication with parents and other family and friends can help keep children and young people safe by keeping them at home. This is a very difficult time and we know that many kinship carers are grappling with numerous challenges, including trying to keep everyone in their household safe. Family Rights Group have produced this guide to help maintain virtual contact at a time when physicl contact is prohibited and hope that kinship carers will find these top tips useful. They will also be useful to foster carers.

Report produced on behalf of the Parliamentary Taskforce on Kinship Care. It is based upon a survey which was constructed by the charity Family Rights Group to enable the Taskforce to have a better understanding of the experiences faced by kinship care households as a result of the coronavirus crisis, and what urgent steps could be taken by Government, local authorities and other agencies to help. 

Mother and baby/baby foster carers

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The Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) is a coalition of over 90 UK organisations that represent, or provide care and support to, parents and families. Their members have contributed to a page of coronavirus and maternal mental health guidance. 

Information for pregnant women and their families in Q&A format, plus two videos, relating to guidance published by published by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Royal College of Midwives and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, with input from the Royal College of Anaesthetists, the Obstetric Anaesthetists’ Association, Public Health England and Health Protection Scotland.

Tommy's provides accredited midwife-led pregnancy health information for parents-to-be that is  evidence based, expert and user led, accessible pregnancy information to support expectant parents in understanding what they can do to support a safe and healthy pregnancy.  They have a page of Q&As around pregnancy and coronavirus based on official guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RCOG).

Although the risks are very low, you may be concerned that your baby you are caring for could get coronavirus. This leaflet tells you what to look out for. Do not delay seeking help if you have concerns.

Information on breastfeeding when the mother has tested positive for COVID-19, as well as information on formula during coronavirus outbreak.

This brief consolidates recommendations on Infant and Young Child Feeding in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The recommendations align with WHO’s interim guidance.

It is hard at the best of times coping with a crying baby. However, it is much more difficult when you are confined to the house and separated from your usual activities and support from family and friends. With this in mind, the Institute of Health Visiting have put together a few facts on infant crying which they hope new mums will find helpful - and, most importantly, some tips on how to get through this time and feel more in control and safe.

Adoptive parents

CoramBAAF summaries the changes to adoption law during the coronavirus crisis. The majority of the amendments are designed to relax strict timescales and replace them, where appropriate, by a requirement that if the timescales cannot be met, they should be met as soon as reasonably practicable.

The Department for Education answers FAQs about the Adoption Support Fund during the coronavirus outbreak period.

You can find suggestions of books to help children manage their feelings and videos for children and other resources on our Children and young people's coronavirus page.

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