Case Management and alternative care during the COVID-19 pandemic Part 2
When implementing child protection case management that include support for children in need of alternative care during the COVID-19 pandemic, we recommend you look further at the Technical Note on Protection of Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Children and Alternative Care.
The guidance recommends actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic include advocating for alternative care services to be classified as ‘essential services’ within government service provision and emergency management frameworks. Guidance also includes:
- Families should be encouraged and helped to plan for who will care for children if a parent or caregiver becomes ill and must leave the household or, is too ill to care for their children
- When making decisions on where to place a child, prioritisation should be given to family-based alternative care (e.g. care in the extended family and foster care)
- Any care providers should be required to immediately notify authorities if a child is brought to their facility who has not been placed there through an assessment and decision making process carried out by an authorised caseworker
- Children in alternative care are enabled to stay in contact with their families - remotely if necessary
- Residential care facilities should not be closed rapidly and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) should be developed that guarantees the careful and safe reintegration and return of children from all forms of alternative care. Reintegration should be prioritised for children who can be cared for by their families or other customary caregivers. This must include documentation containing all the details about where a child is returned to, and ongoing follow-up of the child upon return until the assigned caseworker assesses this as no longer necessary
- Local authorities should prepare Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to address interim care needs of separated or unaccompanied refugee and migrant children, including clear guidance on steps to be taken in the event such a child has been exposed or has symptoms of the virus and requires a period of isolation
- Each residential facility should be classified as a single unit of residence for the purpose of government regulations/directives for self-isolation and clear guidance should be distributed to all service providers on requirements for social distancing, isolation and quarantine measures within residential care settings and adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) should also be provided
- Governments, in partnership with service providers, should help secure/guarantee the supply of essential goods (food, hygiene products and essential/basic medicine) and critical services - including those specifically needed for children with disabilities- to alternative care service providers
- There should be a review and identification of key personnel/staff and plans for temporary replacement staff of those who need to self-quarantine
- Governments and civil society organizations should ensure that drop-in centres and similar facilities for street connected children are designated as essential services, and are equipped with information on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as essential services such as health, hygiene, protection, education, and nutrition
- Police should ensure that street connected children are not arrested for not self-isolating, and should be supported with access to shelters or other alternative care - and connected to other support services
- Care leavers that have moved to semi-independent or independent living should be provided all the ongoing support they need.
The ‘See Also’ section below has links to other reading material that may be of interest to you.