Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): child contact services guidance

Published: 5 Mar 2021
Last updated: 19 Jul 2021 - see all updates

Guidance to help child contact centres safely re-open their premises and resume face-to-face services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): child contact services guidance
Scotland’s Strategic Framework

Scotland’s Strategic Framework

The Coronavirus (COVID-19): Scotland's Strategic Framework provides a transparent and easily understood framework for managing outbreaks allowing rapid, but proportionate, responses to be taken using a range of measures and options that can be applied locally or nationally, according to evolving patterns of infection and transmission.   

Now that the direct health harms caused by the virus are reducing and as a result of the success of the vaccination roll out, our strategic intent has been revised in a Strategic Framework update.

Our revised strategic intent is: to suppress the virus to the lowest possible level and keep it there, while we strive to return to a more normal life for as many people as possible.

Scotland follows a COVID-19 levels system. There are 5 levels (0-4) and each has a different set of rules.

Find out the level and rules for an area using the postcode checker.

Get information on the latest COVID-19 situation.

Support services

Child contact centre services fall within the Support Services category in the original Strategic Framework.

Within Levels 0 and 1 we would expect to see low incidence of the virus with isolated clusters, and low community transmission.  Within Level 2 we would expect to see increased incidence of the virus, with multiple clusters and increased community transmission.

At Levels 0, 1 and 2 child contact services are permitted to stay open and provide face-to-face contact services, subject to compliance with the measures set out in this guidance.

Within Level 3 we would expect to see increased incidence of the virus, with multiple clusters and increased community transmission.  

At Level 3 child contact services are permitted to stay open and provide face-to-face contact services, subject to compliance with the measures set out in this guidance. However, providers should consider providing services online where appropriate. For example, initial intake meetings with families and other administrative work should be done online or by telephone wherever possible. 

Within Level 4 we would expect to see very high or rapidly increasing incidence of the virus, and widespread community transmission.

In order to help suppress the virus to the lowest possible level and keep it there, at Level 4 providers are advised that they should only be providing essential contact services in person. During this time providers should move their contact services online where possible, or by telephone. 

A provider may consider that it is essential for a particular contact to take place in person in some circumstances.  This could include situations where online contact is not possible or appropriate if, for example, a child is a very young age or has a severe learning disability or where contact has to be in person for safety reasons.

Handover services can provided at Level 4, but should be facilitated outdoors wherever possible.  A handover service is where one parent brings the child or children to the child contact centre to be collected by the other parent.

If new referrals are made to the child contact centre during this period providers should consider conducting intake meetings and initial assessments online or by telephone.

 

Beyond Level 0

We have set out the vaccine milestones we hope to reach over the summer, and the plan to take us out of COVID-19 restrictions. See our proposed timetable for these changes.

Our Strategic Framework update sets out what a move beyond Level 0 may look like. We will ensure that our information is clear and accessible as we enter a period where people need to make personal judgements, rather than rules set by government.

This means everyone playing their part by:

  • maintaining good hand hygiene
  • practising respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette
  • wearing face coverings
  • ensuring there is good ventilation – open windows when indoors
  • continuing to engage with Test and Protect and self-isolate when symptomatic or have tested positive

A move beyond Level 0 will be conditional on all adults over 40 protected with two doses of the vaccination and a review of the epidemic being carried out ahead of the date for that move.


Contact

Any suggestions for improvements to this guidance should be sent to: family.law@gov.scot

First published: 5 Mar 2021 Last updated: 19 Jul 2021 -