Fosterline Is With You Every Step Of The Way
In these unprecedented times there are lots of messages being circulated but the main one we want to express is that, We’re Still With You Every Step Of The Way. Fosterline’s helpline service is still running and we’re still as eager as ever to help you with your concerns!
We have collated the below information to keep you up to date with the information we believe is relevant to you during the Coronavirus outbreak.
We want to remind you that we are here to support you.
NHS Guidance & Guidance from an NHS Nurse about Coronavirus
With all the uncertainty around the current situation, regarding Coronavirus, we thought this information would be beneficial to you all, shared with us by an NHS nurse.
Find out more here >
Coronavirus Legislation and Guidance
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, governments across the UK have made changes to regulations and issued new guidance which affects local authorities and fostering services. Each UK country has its own regulations and guidance, which change rapidly as the government moves to ease lockdown and we will continue to update this page as changes occur.
Coronavirus Update – UK
England has returned to a tiered system of coronavirus restrictions after its second national lockdown ended on 2nd December.
Under the system every area of the country is in one of three tiers – medium (one), high (two) and very high (three) – with the vast majority of the population in the higher two tiers. In tier two, people are not allowed to mix with anyone outside their household or support bubble indoors, although they can socialise in groups of up to six outdoors, and in tier three, people must also not mix with anyone outside their household or support bubble indoors, or at most outdoor venues.
To find out which tier you are in click here: https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-local-restrictions
For more information about the rules in your region see below:
While the coronavirus rules vary depending on which part of the UK you live in, the 4 UK governments have agreed on a 5-day relaxation of the rules to allow up to 3 households to meet together over the Christmas period (23 to 27 December). The rules are complex and you should check before making any travel plans.
For further information on this and how it affects you please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/making-a-christmas-bubble-with-friends-and-family/making-a-christmas-bubble-with-friends-and-family
Please help to stop the spread of coronavirus by downloading the NHS Covid-19 App
Updated Guidance for Children’s Social Care Services
The government updated its coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for children’s social care services on 25 September 2020. The guidance has been updated to:
- reflect that the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 have expired
- update with the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) (No2) Regulations 2020
- reflect the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 – the rule of 6
All documents relating to COVID-19 guidance for children’s social care services, including the updated list of Amendments from 24 September 2020 to existing regulations, are on the Gov.uk website.
The Coronavirus Act 2020 includes new laws that affect foster care to help to slow the spread of the virus. Read the legislation
- advises on flexibilities in delivering statutory duties, and the principles they should apply, to manage any increased risks to vulnerable children as a result of COVID-19;
- acknowledges there needs to be flexibility under statutory duties;
- offers key principles to guide thinking such as being child-centred, risk-based, and collaborative; and
- sets expectations that risk assessment of every child, and identifying those most at risk will be important and that vulnerable children are expected to attend school
The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 were introduced on 24th April and have significant implications for family placement work in England. CoramBAAF have produced a summary of the changes, and the full regulations can be found here.
The Department for Education has provided some general practice guidance for local authorities on children’s social care that includes a section that is specific to fostering.
The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory have provided guidance on managing family contact during the coronavirus crisis.
National Association of Child Contact Centres (NACCC) has issued an update on how Child Contact Centres are operating during the Coronavirus crisis.
Guidance for Care Leavers: The Department for Education, along with other government departments, has produced a series of guidance documents and factsheets to support young care leavers (aged 16 to 25) during the pandemic. Click on the links below to download.
- COVID-19 factsheet for care leavers that are expecting or are lone parents
- COVID-19 housing factsheet
- Guidance on how to stay safe and have positive health and emotional well-being
- Guidance for care leavers whose employers have stopped trading due to COVID-19
- Guidance for care leavers on universal credit during the pandemic
- Guidance for gig economy and zero hours workers during COVID-19
We have compiled some Frequently Asked Questions to help answer some of your questions through these unprecedented times. If you have a question that you can’t see on here or one you think should be included, call 0800 040 7675 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
|What are the symptoms
|The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
Most people with coronavirus have at least 1 of these symptoms.
What to do if you have symptoms
If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus:
Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must also stay at home until you get your result.
Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:
|What do I do if I have any symptoms of Coronavirus?||If anyone in your household needs to self-isolate, you should notify your supervising social worker and child’s social worker, advise them of your symptoms. You should not attend any offices. Other members of the household must then stay in the home and isolate for 14 days from the first day the person began to show symptoms as they may not initially show any signs of illness themselves but could be infectious.|
|What happens if I need to self-isolate?||If you or any member of your household develop any of the above symptoms, the government advice is that the person demonstrating symptoms should now self-isolate for 7 days. This means they should:
– Stay at home
|What is the difference between self-isolation and social distancing?||Self-isolation is currently recommended for anyone who has symptoms of the virus as described above and will also include anyone who is part of your household who may not be showing any symptoms. Self-isolation involves staying at home.
Social Distancing is maintaining a space of 2 metres between yourself and others outside the home wherever possible and wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces, such as shops.
The Government has introduced “the rule of 6” people who are able to safely meet up indoors or outdoors, maintaining social distance. See specific guidance for each UK region.
|Do I need to send the child or young person in my foster care to school?||All children should attend school wherever possible. If your foster child has special needs, or is vulnerable due to a medical condition you should discuss this with the school and your supervising social worker. Schools are expected to make provisions for children to safely return to school with hygiene measures and social distancing in place. Children should not attend school if they have covid symptoms.|
|What should a foster carer or fostering service do if they are concerned the carer (household member) or the child needs to self -isolate?||If a member of the household, be it the foster parent/s, foster child or any other member needs to self-isolate then this should be treated as a significant event and the fostering service be notified as with all significant events. Primarily this should be your supervising social worker and child’s social worker or failing this it should be escalated to a team manager.
Further information on the virus and expectations should be obtained from the government website https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
The carer can access information about the virus on the NHS Direct website or use the 111 online advice. If the carer cannot access online information they can call 111. https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19
In the event of a medical emergency do not attend the GP surgery or the hospital contact 999 and inform them you think the patient has the coronavirus and explain the concerns.
Update your fostering service regarding any admission to hospital or treatment that is required, we urge you to record as usual.
|Are there any restrictions on travel?||The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Travel to some countries and territories is currently exempted.
This advice is being kept under constant review. Travel disruption is still possible and national control measures may be brought in with little notice.
Travel within the UK is not currently restricted however, may impacted by local lock downs and/or restrictions so you should always check before you travel.
|The rule of 6 and introductions/placement breakdowns/allegations etc.||During lockdown many fostering services have been conducting visits virtually or over the telephone. As restrictions ease, more face to face visits will take place, however, these will be subject to changing circumstances.
The rule of 6 does not apply to foster placements as each household is classed as one family unit regardless of the number of family members. Social workers are able to visit foster carers’ homes as this is deemed a work situation.
Any decisions require consultation with the local authority that holds shared parental responsibility for the child or young person.
|Contact with birth parents||Current government guidance states: We expect that contact between children in care and their birth relatives will continue. It is essential for children and families to remain in touch at this difficult time, and for many children, the consequences of not seeing relatives would be traumatising.
Contact arrangements should, therefore, be assessed on a case by case basis taking into account a range of factors, including the government’s current social distancing guidance and guidance on meeting people outside your household and the needs of the child. However, we expect the spirit of any court-ordered contact in relation to children in care to be maintained.
Where it may not be possible, or appropriate, for the usual face to face contact to happen at this time, keeping in touch will, for the most part, need to take place virtually. In these circumstances, we would encourage social workers and other professionals to reassure children that this position is temporary. We would also expect foster parents and other carers to be consulted on how best to meet the needs of the children in their care and to be supported to facilitate that contact, particularly if those carers are shielding or medically vulnerable.