We are keeping this page regularly updated with information related to the coronavirus (Covid-19) that is relevant for adoption professionals.

Last updated: 12 October 2020

Contents (click to jump to section)

For children

Government funding, wages, and taxes

Other funding opportunities

Statutory and related guidance

Adoption, social work, children's social care, and charities - guidance and resources

Helplines

Organisational management

Surveys and intelligence-gathering

Schools

For parents and carers

For children

Body & Soul, a London-based charity, have launched a website called Brave Families, with lots of games, activities, and ideas for building emotional resilience and connection. Activities and ideas are organised into Safety, Connection, Wellbeing, and Emergency Kits for whatever children's emotional needs may be.

Children and young people from Safety Net have produced a series of five e-zines for other young people: Working Out My Worries, Making Sense of Missing Out, Sussing Out School, Keeping Calm and in Control, and a special Choose Your Challenge summer activity issue. These and any future e-zines can all be downloaded here.

Childline have updated their resources for children who are feeling worried about the world with a page specifically on coronavirus.

The Children's Commissioner has also published a children's guide to coronavirus.

This free book for children has been written in partnership with the London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, illustrator of The Gruffalo.

NSPCC has updated this page about anxiety, depression, and mental health with advice for talking to children about the coronavirus.

Missing People's new website is chock full of information and advice to help young people in Scotland who may be struggling with their mental health during the pandemic.

The government has published information for children and young people in England and Wales who are attending court during the pandemic.

Government funding, wages, and taxes

The Chancellor has announced a package of support to help business (including charities). Further information on all of the support on offer can be found here. You can also use the government's business support finder tool to identify the support that might be available to you.

All of the following apply throughout the UK.

  • *NEW* Coronavirus Job Support Scheme: all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary from 1 November 2020 to 1 May 2021. More information here.

  • VAT deferral: The government automatically deferred VAT payments from 30 March to 30 June. Taxpayers will be given until 31 March 2021 to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. More information here.

  • Statutory sick pay: Employers with less than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020 are eligible for a refund on up to two weeks of SSP. You should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website. Details on how to claim back SSP here.

  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme: The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value. Further details here and here

  • Time to Pay service: All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. Please call HMRC’s dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559.

Other funding opportunities

Fundraising.co.uk has a full list of opportunities; the below may be particularly relevant to VAAs.

  • Grants Online is keeping this extensive list of funding programmes which aim to assist local organisations in responding to the pandemic.

  • The Baring Foundation has announced new funding streams to support legal action related to the pandemic, and to help previous grant awardees with operational costs and the provision of advice. More information here.

  • The Directory for Social Change is keeping a comprehensive and regularly updated list of funding opportunities here.

  • Big Society Capital has worked with social investors and DCMS to create the Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund (RRLF). More details here. The RRLF currently closes to new applications at 5pm on Friday 13 November. Applicants will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis and the closing date of the fund is subject to constant review.

  • The National Emergencies Trust is making funding available through local community organisations – find yours here.

  • The Yapp Charitable Trust offers grants for core funding to registered charities with a total annual expenditure of less than £40,000. Guidelines here, apply here.

  • Reason Digital has compiled a workbook on digital fundraising for small charities, which can be downloaded here.

Statutory and related guidance

The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (England only) expired on 25 September 2020. 

The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 came into effect on 24 September. They preserve some of the flexibilities that were introduced in March and maintain continuity for prospective adopters who were in the process of being assessed when the temporary regulations expired on 25 September. Where an adoption agency is in the process of assessing the suitability of a prospective adopter before 25 September 2020, they must continue to assess that individual as though all the amendments in the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020, that came into effect from 24 April 2020, remain in force. This means that:

  • an adoption agency can decide if it refers the case to a panel for a recommendation on suitability
  • a panel can still go ahead under reduced quoracy (not having enough members to carry out business and cast votes)
  • an adoption agency can move to stage 2 of the process while still waiting for medicals and DBS checks. The position under the new Amendment Regulations from 25 September is that a person cannot apply for a review to the Secretary of State of a decision that the person is not suitable for reasons related to medical information only.

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 came into force on 7 April 2020.  Read the Act here, general guidance here, and detailed guidance on the changes to services for looked-after children and children's hearings here.

The Department for Education has published:

    *NEW* The Welsh government has updated its guidance on how children’s social care providers can change their services to support young people during the coronavirus pandemic.

    The Department of Health (Northern Ireland) has published a draft policy on social work supervision during the pandemicThe final draft of the policy will be informed by social workers’ experiences of providing supervision in different ways during this time and a final consultation will take place when normal business resumes.

    The Charity Commission has published coronavirus guidance for the voluntary sector, including guidance on using reserves, postponing AGMs, and holding meetings digitally. They have also published guidance for trustees, especially those in smaller charities, on managing financial difficulties caused by the pandemic. 

    The Charity Commission has published guidance for trustees on reporting serious incidents during the pandemic.

    Effective 24 March, the DBS ID checking guidance has been temporarily updated to allow ID documents to be viewed over video link and scanned images to be used in advance of the DBS check being submitted. This should only be in urgent cases where it is not possible to follow the normal identity checking guidelines. The applicant must still present the original versions of these documents when you first see them face-to-face. If you have questions, please email [email protected].

    The Cabinet Office has published an updated Procurement Policy Note (PPN 04/20) which asks all contracting public authorities to:

    • Review their contract portfolio and, if appropriate to maintain delivery of critical services, continue or commence measures in line with PPN 02/20
    • Work in partnership with their suppliers and develop transition plans to exit from any relief as soon as reasonably possible
    • Work in partnership with their suppliers, openly and pragmatically, during this transition to ensure contracts are still relevant and sustainable and deliver value for money over the medium to long term
    • Continue to pay suppliers as quickly as possible

    The DfE has published ASF guidance to clarify expectations for therapies that will be delayed into the new financial year due to the coronavirus.

    The Courts and Tribunals Judiciary has published and is regularly updating this page with advice and guidance on the operation of the courts during the pandemic.

    The LGA has published guidance for commissioners on working with children's services providers during the pandemic. The LGA says, 'The guidance deals with potential actions for commissioners, but we recognise that they will be working with their providers on a collaborative basis to identify issues and agree actions and mutual expectations. We expect providers to participate in these discussions in a meaningful way that puts the needs of children and young people at the heart of decision-making and recognises the need for strong collaboration between councils and providers.'

    Public sector commissioners in Greater Manchester have put out a statement in which they commit to doing everything they can to support the voluntary sector. This is a great example of statutory bodies working in partnership with the VCSE sector.

    The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has published 'The Road Ahead', a framework for the Family Court in England and Wales over the coming months.

    Adoption, social work, children's social care, and charities - guidance and resources

    Ofsted is regularly updating information and guidance here. They have also published their plans for a 'phased return' to routine inspection in autumn 2020.

    The Care Inspectorate (Scotland) is keeping this page updated with guidance and information.

    CoramBAAF is keeping this page updated with advice and guidance for adoption and fostering.

    NCVO has pulled together a list of helpful information and resources here.

    The Theraplay Institute has issued this statement, which clarifies that:

    • There are to be no in-person Theraplay trainings or events until April 30 at the very earliest
    • The Theraplay Institute recommends either: 1) doing parent support sessions online or 2) providing virtual Theraplay sessions to parent and child online by guiding the parent and child through the activities and even doing the activities simultaneously while online.

    Skills for Care is keeping this page updated with resources for social workers.

    The House of Commons Library has published briefings on separated families & contact with children in care and the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020.

    Children England is helpfully keeping this page up to date with information for the voluntary sector, including funding opportunities.

    ADCS is regularly updating a spreadsheet of children's services guidance and practice that can be downloaded here.

    CELCIS (University of Strathclyde, Glasgow) has compiled a hub of information and resources on children's care and protection.

    The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory is compiling resources on this page.

    NSPCC is keeping this briefing up to date with information and guidance for social workers.

    Research in Practice has created a hub of resources on social care practice during the pandemic.

    Barnardo's Scotland has published this report on how fostering and adoption services have adapted to continue supporting children and families during the pandemic.

    LGA has made available this briefing on education and children's services.

    Youth Work Support has created a bank of resources for youth workers and young people.

    BASW is keeping this page updated with the latest information relating to coronavirus and social work.

    CPAG (Child Poverty Action Group) are keeping this resource bank updated with information about the impact of coronavirus on benefits.

    CFAB (Children and Families Across Borders) has issued guidance on safely arranging assessments of family members in other countries.

    Cafcass has issued guidance for children and families, including advice on how to co-parent during coronavirus and a list of FAQs.

    SCIE (Social Care Institute for Excellence) is keeping this page updated with information and resources related to adult and children’s social care. They have also published guidance on safeguarding during the pandemic.

    CFG (Charity Finance Group) are keeping a regularly updated coronavirus guide on their website.

    NAVCA have put together a coronavirus resource hub with all kinds of useful information, including on home working, tech offers for charities, staff wellbeing, governance, and legislation.

    Helplines

    The Charity Commission has asked any organisation with concerns about filing their annual return by the deadline to contact them. More information here. You can contact them at 0300 066 9197. Opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

    The DfE has launched a helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education, schools, FE, HE, early years settings and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline on 0800 046 8687 or at [email protected]. Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday).

    If you are concerned about paying your tax due to coronavirus, you can call HMRC’s helpline for help and advice: 0800 0159 559. More information here.

    If you would like HR support, NCVO members have unlimited access to Croner’s Business Support Helpline at 0844 561 8133. More information here.

    Organisational management

    ICSA has produced a thorough guidance note for charity trustees in England and Wales on safely re-opening physical spaces and face-to-face services. 

    Digital Boost, a platform which connects organisations with pro bono digital experts, offers free consultations, workshops, and resources in areas including online marketing, design and branding, and remote working.

    NSPCC Learning has published a guide to recruiting, vetting, and starting new staff and volunteers during the pandemic. 

    Bates Wells has published an analysis of the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill 2020, which is anticipated to come into force by the end of June (subject to successful passage through Parliament). The Bill introduces measures, such as amendments to insolvency law and relaxation of requirements around AGMs, to help organisations potentially avoid insolvency due to the financial pressures imposed by the pandemic.

    Civil Society Consulting has compiled an enormously helpful briefing on 'surviving and thriving in a post-Covid-19 environment'. The briefing includes:

    • A summary of the immediate impact of Covid-19 on the charity and faith social action sectors;
    • A summary of key funders’ reactions; plus a table of the latest list of funds available to help with crisis support;
    • Suggestions for both short and medium-term strategic and operational thinking and planning in the wake of Covid-19;
    • Five tips on resilience.

    Ladbrook Insurance has published a guide to the insurance implications of the pandemic, including a section that considers some of the potential changes to your activities, how insurance will respond to the current crisis, and a discussion of business interruption policies.

    Hempsons have published a quick overview of the uncertainties around the furlough scheme when it comes to charities, including a short discussion of assessing the risks if you do decide to furlough staff.

    Martin Lewis (of MoneySavingExpert.com) has published a brief explainer of the furlough scheme, though it is primarily intended for small businesses rather than charities.

    Acas (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) have published a template furlough agreement letter for organisations to use in the event of furloughing staff.

    Children England has circulated this article to provide some guidance on what the current situation could mean for your ability to claim insurance. The article explores how the courts might interpret different forms of ‘force majeure’ clauses and how you might be able to prove ‘frustration’ of your contract.

    Our Frontline is offering 24/7 one-to-one support for key workers by text or call, along with tips, tools, and resources for looking after your mental health. 

    Surveys and intelligence-gathering

    *NEW* NCVO has partnered with Sheffield Hallam University and Nottingham Trent University to study the long-term effects of Covid-19 on the voluntary sector across the UK. Their anonymous survey is open from 21 September to 5 October and will be open for 2 weeks during the same period each month until later November 2021. It takes 10-15 mins to complete, and researchers are asking that organisations complete the survey each month to allow for longitudinal analysis. Find out more and take the survey here.

    NCVO are working with other infrastructure bodies, including NAVCA, Children England, Clinks, and Locality, to understand organisations' experiences of delivering public service contracts during the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown. Complete this form to share any experiences, good, bad and mixed, of contracts your organisation is delivering at the moment.

    NCVO has partnered with the Institute of Fundraising, Charity Finance Group and ACEVO to help the government understand what the easing of lockdown restrictions means for charities and volunteering. Please complete this form to let them know what practical issues lifting lockdown might raise for your organisation.

    A coalition of charities including Children England, UNICEF UK, and Action for Children are asking professionals who work with children and families to complete this survey and let them know the challenges you are facing. Information from the survey will be shared with key people (including government representatives) relevant to the provision of children’s services, and to used write briefings and reports on issues relating to the provision of children’s services which will be made publicly available.

    NCVO, ACEVO, and a number of other umbrella bodies are running a brief survey to help charities get support from the business community in responding to the coronavirus. If you complete the survey, a representative from the most relevant partner organisation will follow up with you to discuss how they can help. Take the survey here.

    Schools

    Place2Be is offering free training on children's mental health to all qualified teachers and school based staff across the UK.

    NSPCC is regularly updating this briefing on safeguarding for schools.

    The House of Commons Library has published FAQs addressing the provisional reopening of schools in England, guidance for schools and colleges in England, and the approaches being taken in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

    Coram Life Education has published a toolkit for schools on returning to school with SCARF - Safety, Caring, Achievement, Resilience, and Friendship.

    The West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit has put together a comprehensive set of resources to support those who work with children and families (especially education professionals) in responding as effectively as possible to the adversity, trauma and loss that many have experienced over the last few months.

    The Anna Freud Centre has published a practical guide for supporting students during periods of change, transition, or disruption. 

    England

    • All schools will reopen fully from the start of the autumn term. Detailed guidance can be found here.
    • The House of Commons Library has published FAQs on schools and coronavirus.

    Wales

    Scotland

    Northern Ireland

    For parents and carers

    Public Health Agency (Northern Ireland) have published a blog post on how to how healthy and honest conversations with children about the pandemic.

    Contact has published back-to-school advice for parents and carers of children with disabilities in England.

    Parent Info has published two articles for parents and carers on tips for supporting primary-age and secondary students with returning to school.

    The Transparency Project has published a guide to remote court hearings.

    CCS Adoption have put together this list of 50 educational and fun activities and resources.

    ThinkUKnow has six websites for different age groups, parents/carers, and professionals about staying safe online.

    NSPCC Learning has published resources for parents and carers on online safety during the pandemic.

    King’s College London, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and Maudsley Charity have launched 'Families Under Pressure', a series of eight short films offering parenting tips based on decades of research from the UK’s leading experts and rooted in the experience of NHS teams working with families.

    Family Rights Group have published a ‘top tips guide’ for kinship carers which sets out how organisations and carers can help children maintain relationships with those they care about, and who care about them, even if they can’t have direct face to face visits.

    Family Rights Group’s telephone advice service is continuing to operate and can be reached on 0808 801 0366. This service is for families involved with children’s services, including parents whose children are in need, at risk, in the care system, or in any placement including SGO and adoption.

    Adoption UK are regularly updating this page with resources and guidance for adoptive families.

    BBC Bitesize has educational resources, including podcasts, videos, lesson ideas, and more, for all ages.

    The National Education Union, which represents school staff in England and Wales, are keeping this website up to date with information, advice, and learning resources.

    Single Parents on Holiday have compiled this list of advice for single parents during lockdown.

    South London and Maudsley NHS Trust has created LDCoronavirusResources, a website of resources for people with learning disabilities and those who work with or care for them.