June 2020
Children's Care and COVID-19
“If it wasn’t for [the people I’m staying with], I’d probably be alone on the streets, trying to be an advocate for youth, and still going through my own thing. Because the city’s locked down, I probably wouldn’t be able to get a lot of resources the way I needed them.”

The Better Care Network will continue to share tools, guidance, information, and other resources regarding children's care and protection during the COVID-19 pandemic as practitioners, policymakers, and other key stakeholders work to respond to the needs of children and families impacted by this crisis. For more resources on COVID-19 and children's care, visit the growing collection of documents in the

This open letter, endorsed by several international civil society organizations and child-focused agencies, calls on national governments and multilateral institutions to work immediately to strengthen ‘child protection in COVID-19’ response frameworks and to provide sufficient donor support to implement these responses effectively.

The aim of this inter-agency Technical Note is to support child protection practitioners and government officials in their immediate response to the child protection concerns faced by children who are at risk of separation or in alternative care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Technical Note is now available in Bulgarian , Farsi , French , Indonesian , Italian , Romanian , Russian , and Spanish.

This call to action, developed by Hope and Homes for Children and Lumos and endorsed by several organizations, calls on European governments and European Union institutions to reinforce actions to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable children and families. It outlines the main challenges for vulnerable children and families, and what the EU and European governments can do to address these challenges.

This guidance from Changing the Way We Care should be considered for children who live with their family or other family environment within a community setting, who may be vulnerable, or at-risk of separation, as well as children who have been recently reunified with their families from residential care.

This guidance from Changing the Way We Care should be considered for children who currently live in a residential setting, including those that have been placed in residential care before and after the onset of COVID-19 pandemic.

This short paper from Family for Every Child argues that a failure to prioritize support for kinship care during the COVID-19 pandemic will exacerbate the risks that girls and boys face, and lead to poorly targeted and consequently ineffective strategies to prevent and mitigate the effects of the virus. The evidence presented is derived from a literature review which included published guidance developed in response to COVID-19, and evidence on previous experiences with Ebola outbreaks and the HIV pandemic.

This document from the Spoon Foundation provides guidelines for residential institution administrators to keep children nourished and their immune systems strong during the pandemic through diverse, nutrient-dense foods. 

The tips in this guidance from Changing the Way We Care should be considered to ensure gatekeeping procedures continue to remain effective or in some cases are strengthened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This guidance from The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action aims at supporting child protection actors working with communities to keep children safe to adapt their programming to the contagious environment of COVID-19.

This position statement from SOS Children's Villages International presents the key asks that are necessary to ensure that the rights and needs of children without or at risk of losing parental care are prioritised by national, regional and international governments as they adopt measures to mitigate the short and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world.

This document from Changing the Way We Care features key messages including critical information about keeping children safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. The messages are designed for use by country child protection actors, such as public child protection officers, directors of residential care facilities and government and civil society actors that work with vulnerable children and families.

This document provides technical guidance for a variety of PEPFAR issues, including the care of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), and will be updated routinely as the situation evolves.

This guidance note - produced by the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action, Child Helpline International, Child Protection Area of Responsibility (CP AoR), and UNICEF - provides practical advice to child protection actors and service providers on how to support children and families through a child helpline service and explores how existing child helpline can contribute to, and participate in, efforts to support children and families during the COVID-19 pandemic through child protection mechanisms and systems.

This resource from Save the Children answers the questions: (1) Why should we consider integrating Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) and Child Protection (CP) during COVID-19?; (2) What type of CVA & CP programming can be done during COVID-19?; and (3) How can we integrate CVA & CP? 

A coalition of six disability rights organisations has launched the new COVID-19 Disability Rights Monitor (DRM) Dashboard which allows the public to explore the preliminary results of surveys aimed at collecting information about what states are doing to protect core rights of persons with disabilities, including the rights to life, access to health, and essential services. The Dashboard highlights the voices of persons with disabilities and provides a vivid picture of the extent to which countries have responded to the specific impacts of the virus on persons with disabilities.

This webpage from the International Labour Organization (ILO) features data on global social protection measures and responses to the COVID-19 crisis. The figures on this page present information on response rates by country, region, date of announcement, function of social protection, and type of measure, including measures aimed at supporting children and families.

In this comment from the Lancet, the authors explore how to communicate to children about the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly when someone in the family is hospitalised for, or dies from, COVID-19. 

To aid understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on girls and young women, Plan International has re-examined four previous studies of crises, as well as talked to girls in lockdown, to try and get a clearer picture of the insecurity and vulnerability facing girls now, including increased risk of experiencing violence and abuse.

This document provides a brief overview of Plan International's activities in Asia-Pacific in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the provision of livelihood support (including to people with disabilities), cash support and food rations to vulnerable families, parenting support sessions, as well as the dissemination of youth-friendly messaging and the distribution of education and communication materials.

This post from the UNICEF Europe and Central Asia website describes how UNICEF is mobilizing to protect marginalized and vulnerable children – including those with disabilities – against the impact of COVID 19 in the region.

As the current pandemic upends daily lives, among the families in the U.S. suffering the most are kinship caregivers. This brief from the Center for the Study of Social Policy explores kinship care and how this critical resource is at risk now and in the future.

This Guideline from the Department of Social Welfare, UNICEF aims to provide technical guidance to child protection workers in Ghana to better respond to child protection risks during the COVID-19 pandemic through case management, including psychosocial support.

This guidance from Miracle Foundation outlines case management process and tools aimed at children in Child Care Institutions (CCIs) in India who have been placed with their families during the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of these case management processes and tools is to determine feasibility of permanent placement and expedite family-based care for families in which children were placed quickly and without proper preparation during COVID-19 lockdown.

This report from Change the Record aims to provide an Australian national overview of the critical condition of First Nations communities during COVID-19. The report includes evidence on the impacts of the crisis on children in detention centers as well as children in out-of-home care and their families.

This report from Plan International Lebanon presents insightful findings on the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak in Lebanon , highlighting data collected on COVID-19 knowledge, health, WASH, protection, education, food security and livelihoods, shelter, movement and digital access. Among the findings, the report notes that adolescents, particularly girls, are at higher risk of violence and abuse and calls for the provision of parenting support to prevent this increase in violence. 

This paper reviews clinical and empirical studies related to the rates of abuse and neglect of children during health and other crises around the world. It then analyses trends of recent data from the Ministry of Interior of Croatia and presents practical guidelines for improved child protection in Croatia during this period.

This briefing paper - produced by the "Joining Forces" coalition of ChildFund, Plan International, Save the Children, SOS Children's Villages, Terre des Hommes and World Vision - sets out how children in Uganda are being affected by the COVID-19 crisis, including increased risks of violence and abuse against children, as well as a rise in hazardous child labour, child marriage, and poverty. The paper outlines practical recommendations to the Government, donors and other key stakeholders to address these protection risks for children, adolescents and youth in Uganda.

Videos & Podcasts

This webinar from the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action focuses on standard 16 - strengthening family and caregiving environments - in the context of the current global COVID-19 pandemic. The webinar also includes presentations of several real-world examples of family strengthening programs in country and/or regional programming contexts.

In this webinar hosted by the Center for the Study of Social Policy, experts discussed how family support professionals and organizations in the U.S. have adapted to serve families during the COVID-19 outbreak, and what we are learning that we will carry forward from this time.

This webinar - hosted by End Violence Partnership and the Office of the Special Representative to the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children (SRSG VAC) - discussed local, national and global perspectives of and responses to the COVID-19 crisis.

This webinar from The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action examines the technical note on protecting children from violence, abuse, and neglect in the home  as countries implement lockdowns and stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of COVID-19.

This webinar - hosted by the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance, the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action, UNICEF and the International Federation of Social Workers - focused on the newly released  technical note on Social Service Workforce Safety and Wellbeing during the COVID-19 Response .

“Protected!” is the official podcast of the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action. In Episode One , Dr Zeinab Hijazi, the mental health and psychosocial support expert from UNICEF talks to Hani Mansourian, the Alliance's Co-coordinator about the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on mental health and psychosocial wellbeing. In Episode Two , Elissa Alhassrouny, a child protection specialist with Plan International Lebanon, discusses how their team moved to remote child protection programming and the steps involved in that process.

This video presentation from REPSSI describes the difficulties of providing care services during the COVID-19 pandemic and how care workers can be supported during this time.

This presentation from REPSSI provides some guidance on how to care for babies and young children during the COVID-19 pandemic, including how to tend to their health and development.

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Newsletter participants, currently 4,469 in total, work on issues related to the care and support of vulnerable children across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas. The purpose of the newsletter is to enable members to exchange information on matters of mutual concern. If you would like to share a document, raise a specific issue, request a newsletter subscription, or reach out in any other way to the Network, please send the information to us at  contact@bettercarenetwork.org  or visit our website at  www.bettercarenetwork.org.  

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