Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): residential and secure childcare

Last updated: 22 Dec 2021 - see all updates
Published: 2 Oct 2020

Guidance for residential children’s houses, residential schools, secure care, and residential respite/short break facilities on staffing, social distancing and self-isolation.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): residential and secure childcare
Summary of changes

Summary of changes



Summary of Changes



First version published



New version of the document contains a number of changes highlighted below:


  • Updated reference to Health Protection Scotland guidance
  • Addition of a note that communications between the placing authority commissioned services should ordinarily take place through the lead professional
  • Inclusion of a new section regarding Test and Protect
  • Introductory paragraph to new section on supporting children and young people
  • Joint statement to protect children and young people who go missing from care
  • Additional paragraph on information to young people
  • Addition of a note for practitioners to take account of young people’s views in risk assessment
  • Reference added to disposal of PPE
  • Reference to notifications to Scottish Government regarding secure care
  • Guidance included on children and young people being moved between or to new care placements



Text has been replaced by an annex added to provide guidance on ‘Test and Protect’ in Residential Childcare


A number of small changes to wording and links took place, detailed below:


  • Updated reference to Health Protection Scotland guidance
  • Small addition to note that guidelines on visiting for other professionals and family should be reviewed in line with the current and local COVID-19 restrictions
  • Reference to Occupational Risk Assessment tool
  • Changes made to reflect duration of self-isolation
  • Reference to health and safety legislation
  • Reference to face coverings in residential schools
  • Reference to use of agency or external staff



Guidance is updated to include residential respite/short break services for children and young people


A number of small changes to wording took place to improve consistency, to reflect updates to COVID-19 health guidance and include reminders for practitioners to keep up-to-date with additions and updates to relevant guidance.


Additions and edits were made to the annex to:


  • Update time periods for self-isolation
  • Include a link to definition of “close contact”
  • Updated process of referring to local HPT
  • Add a link to Care Inspectorate



Updated reference to the HPS Guidance



New information has been added to this version, as follows:


  • Practitioners encouraged to become familiar with appropriate guidance and ensure they always use the most updated version
  • Acknowledge HPS guidance is updated to reflect children’s residential settings
  • 4 new paragraphs included which set out Scotland’s Strategic Framework and the “5 levels”
  • Link inserted to Coronavirus guidance on risk assessment in the workplace
  • Annex updated to reflect that contact with friends and family for children and young people in residential settings should be encouraged, as long as it is in-line with existing guidance.


Small edits have been made to ensure that wording is appropriate and that definitions are expanded, including update from reference to “children” changed to “children and young people”.



Updated to add reference to Scottish Government Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance: looked after children and young people – family contact



Updated to add a new section  ‘Where we are now’ which references Stay at Home Guidance and other changes which came into effect on 5 January 2021.



Updates made to the guidance as follows:

  • Updated link to The NHS Scotland National Infection Prevention and Control Manual and link provided to sign up for Public Health Scotland guidance email updates
  • Removal of ‘Scotland’s Strategic Framework’ and ‘Where Are We Now’ sections
  • Updated text under ‘Face Coverings’ heading which highlights that the use of opaque face coverings can be balanced with the wellbeing and needs of the child.
  • Updated text which clarifies that any decisions on the use of PPE are dependent on individual assessments taking place as part of the child’s plan, and involving all partners to that plan
  • Updates and links to guidance on self-isolation exemptions for social care staff
  • Updated information under the residential/respite short break settings which clarifies that
  • Updated text on testing to clarify that residential staff should take a LFT before any work shift 


First published: 2 Oct 2020 Last updated: 22 Dec 2021 -