Coronavirus (COVID-19): looked after children and young people - family contact

Guidance for managers, social workers and social care providers arranging contact between looked after and accommodated children and young people and their families in both local authority premises, community settings and in some circumstances, a private dwelling.

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Family contact

Family contact should be considered as essential to a child’s wellbeing, this includes both family contact which is legally mandated as well as that not included in a legal order. There may be situations in which contact has to be suspended for the safety of the child and of others involved, including family members, carers and social work staff (for example, somebody develops symptoms). Other methods of contact may be appropriate in these circumstances, according to the child’s needs and development. In exceptional circumstances, for example, a family member testing positive for COVID-19, professionals may intervene in contact plans, including prior to the legal revision of the contact order. This is set out in the Social Work Scotland and SCRA joint protocol on the management of contact arrangements.

Family contact must be organised in compliance with infection control advice, so that it does not compromise the health and safety of the child and others. Risk assessments should be completed in accordance with local guidance. Family members, children and carers should also be supported to ensure they have access to suitable PPE and testing equipment where this is assessed as required. Further information regarding risk management and PPE is contained in Coronavirus (COVID-19): safe and ethical social work practice.

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