March 2020
Issue on COVID-19 and Children's Care and Protection

" She basically hangs up the phone. So it's like, very emotional for me to try to do Facetime when she's not really paying attention. I'm usually, like, you know, feeding her, singing to her, playing with her, we're bonding really good, and it's like it snatched it away from me, this whole virus and being away from her now."

- Jessica, mother of a toddler in foster care, from ' Child Welfare Services And Caretakers Grapple With COVID-19 Effects '


The COVID-19 pandemic is posing unprecedented challenges to children, families and communities throughout the world. Beyond the immediate implications on children’s care posed by the measures taken to contain the transmission of the virus and to address its impact on the health of millions of individuals, the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic on the capacity of families, caregivers and alternative care systems to provide safe, nurturing and appropriate care are likely to be long-lasting and profound.

Recognizing this, a group of agencies have come together across the humanitarian and development spectrum to develop inter-agency technical guidance 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. This Technical Note , along with other resources on the care and protection of children during the COVID-19 crisis, are highlighted in this newsletter issue.

For more tools, guidance, news, webinar recordings, and other resources on children's care and protection, visit BCN's COVID-19 Resource Center .

The aim of this 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. It has been developed by an Inter-agency Task Force of practitioners specialized in child protection and care and builds on t he Technical Note: Protection of Children during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action has produced this Technical Note on the Protection of Children during the Coronavirus Pandemic, based on the Guidance Note on Protection of Children during Infectious Disease Outbreaks (Alliance, 2018), in an attempt to support frontline Child Protection workers, policy makers and donors in designing and implementing Child Protection interventions, including cross-sectoral collaboration.

This note from the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action & UNICEF aims to provide detaining authorities with key information and steps to respond to COVID-19 including by: (1) Instituting a moratorium on new children entering detention facilities; (2) Releasing all children who can be safely released; and (3) Protecting the health and well-being of any children who must remain in detention. This technical note is an annex of the  Technical Note: Protection of Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic

This brief from Changing the Way We Care uses an ecological framework to help illustrate how the COVID-19 crisis might impact the children, families and communities and how to help programs adapt, reorganize and prioritize prevention and response activities.

This resource from Changing the Way We Care offers guidance on adapting and/or developing services and programming to continue to best serve children and families throughout the rapidly changing times of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly on conducting virtual monitoring of children, families, alternative care placements and residential care facilities.

In the light of the COVID19 pandemic and its disproportionate impact on persons with disabilities, the International Disability Alliance (IDA) has compiled the following list of the main barriers that persons with disabilities face in this emergency situation along with some practical solutions and recommendations. 

This report by the International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and the World Health Organization seeks to understand the issues faced by vulnerable populations in emergencies, including children, in order to provide them with support and priority assistance and to engage them in decision-making processes for response, recovery, preparedness, and risk reduction.

This resource describes how the IFSW ethical principles can serve as a compass to guide social workers' deliberations during the COVID-19 crisis.

This brief from UNICEF outlines the urgent action needed to put migrant and displaced children at the forefront of UNICEF’s preparedness, prevention and response to COVID19 – to ensure health, safety, and protection for all.

This one-page document from World Vision outlines how cash and voucher programming (CVP) can be used to support vulnerable families in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This note from the GBV AoR Helpdesk aims to provide practical support to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) practitioners to adapt GBV case management service delivery models quickly and ethically during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

This analysis from CARE highlights the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on women and girls, including the increased risk of violence and/or separation from caregivers for children, particularly girls.

This document from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) outlines the Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19, a joint effort by members of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), to analyse and respond to the direct public health and indirect immediate humanitarian consequences of the pandemic, particularly on people in countries already facing other crises.

This report outlines key human rights risks to children related to the COVID-19 crisis, and steps that governments should take to protect children’s rights in the pandemic, mitigate its devastating effects, and benefit children after the crisis is over. 

Parenting for Lifelong Health, along with the WHO, UNICEF, End Violence, Internet of Good Things, USAID, UKRI GCRF Accelerating Achievement for Africa’s Adolescents Hub, and the CDC, have developed a collection of open-access online resources for parenting during the COVID-19 crisis. To help parents interact constructively with their children during this time of confinement, these six one-page tips for parents cover planning one-on-one time, staying positive, creating a daily routine, avoiding bad behaviour, managing stress, and talking about COVID-19.

This webpage from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University offers some simple, free activities to help support a child’s healthy development during the COVID-19 crisis.

This framework represents Save the Children’s planning assumptions and priority areas for implementation over four phases of programming: Preparedness, Initial Response, Large-Scare Response, and Recovery.

On 7 April 2020, Religions for Peace (RfP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) joined forces to launch a global Multi-Religious Faith-in-Action COVID-19 Initiative to raise awareness of the impacts of this pandemic on the world’s youngest citizens. "As the pandemic continues wreaking unimaginable sickness and increasing death tolls," says the statement, "we are particularly aware of the increased vulnerability of children, families and in particular girls."

This statement from the Center for the Study of Social Policy emphasizes the need to respond to the needs of children, youth, and families who are likely to suffer most during the COVID-19 crisis, including children, youth, and families in institutional settings and families involved in the U.S. child welfare system.

This guidance note details the four priority areas that case management agencies will need to focus on in the coming days and months during COVID-19 for child protection.

This guidance provides an overview of the risks associated with COVID-19 outbreak that could cause children to be left without appropriate parental care, and provides scenarios for where children may be identified as separated in Iraq due to issues related to COVID-19.

This guide from the Family Rights Group aims to help parents and families of children who are looked after in the UK care system during the Coronavirus outbreak.

This guidance from Health Protection Scotland is to support those working in social or community care and residential settings (residential children’s homes, including secure children’s homes) to give advice to their staff and users of their services about COVID-19. 

This factsheet from Generations United provides grandparents who are raising grandchildren with resources and information on how to stay healthy, informed and connected in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This guidance from the UK Department for Education and the Department for Public Health England answers some key questions regarding meeting the needs of vulnerable children during the COVID-19 crisis, including children in care and children with a child protection plan.

This literature scan identifies and synthesizes existing literature examining the effects of pandemics and the identification of policy solutions to mitigate their effects on a well defined group of Canada ’s population—children in the care of Canada’s child welfare system.

Understanding the Situation
In this study from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project, the authors examined (a) whether institutional rearing is associated with continued social communication (SC) deficits into adolescence; (b) whether early placement into foster care mitigates risk for SC problems; and (c) associations between SC and psychopathology from middle childhood (age 8) to adolescence (age 16).

This study from the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology examined the impact of adrenocortical activity and post-adoption parenting on disinhibited social engagement (DSE) across the first two years post-adoption (age at adoption: 16–36 months) and observed kindergarten social outcomes in previously institutionalized children compared to non-adopted children.

This scoping review from the Children and Youth Services Review adopts a descriptive focus to compile and analyze those studies published between 2007 and 2017 that have assessed the impact of situations of vulnerability or institutionalization on linguistic and communicative development.

This volume provides an in-depth examination of the history and goals of the foster care system in the U.S. , how and why it fails to adequately meet children’s needs, and what it would take to actualize meaningful improvements in children’s experiences and outcomes.

Related Topics: Foster Care
This article from the Lancet explores parental migration and its effect on children who are left behind in the context of Sub-Saharan Africa .

This qualitative study from the journal of Child Abuse & Neglect explores the experiences of unaccompanied children with regard to violence in reception facilities in the Netherlands from the perspective of the children.

The aim of this study from the journal of Child Abuse & Neglect was to assess the evidence of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of Intensive Family Preservation Services (IFPS) in reducing the need for children to enter out-of-home care.

Related Topics: Parenting Support
Policies, Standards, and Guidelines

This briefing from the House of Commons Library gives a very broad overview of the legislative framework for child protection in England .

This paper from the International Journal of Child Health and Nutrition presents a systematic, conceptual and practical case for incorporating a public health approach in the measurement of and programming for separation of children in humanitarian settings.

Learning from Practice
The Bellagio Forum: Transforming Care for Children - Report

This report provides an overview of a February 2020 meeting - hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation, Daniel Schwartz, and the Miracle Foundation - held in Bellagio, Italy focused on a cross sectoral ‘outside look in’ examination of the issue of children’s care.

The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the perceptions of orphans and vulnerable children’s parents/guardians about the effectiveness of Future Families’ children programme in Olievenhoutbosch, South Africa as a way to explore how much they are involved in the process of designing the programme activities and if they perceive the programme as effective in responding to their family needs.

Related Topics: Strengthening Family Care
The authors of this study from the Journal of Interpersonal Violence conducted a randomized controlled trial to investigate the efficacy of a parent group training tailored to the special needs of foster families.

Related Topics: Parenting Support

This report summarises findings from a joint targeted area inspections of ‘the multi-agency response to child sexual abuse in the family environment’ in the UK , which took place between September 2018 and May 2019. The findings in this report consider the extent to which children’s social care, health professionals, youth offending services, the police and probation officers effectively work together to safeguard children who are subject to, or at risk of, sexual abuse in the family environment. 

Related Topics: Child Abuse and Neglect

This report from the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development presents the results of an evaluation of the Partnering for Family Success (PFS) program, which was conceived as an innovative intervention to address the particular needs of housing unstable families who had a child in the custody of the child welfare agency of Cuyahoga County, Ohio in the U.S.

Related Topics: Parenting Support
The general objective of this study from the IOSR Journal Of Humanities And Social Science is to assess the response strategies of NGOs in meeting the needs of vulnerable children in vulnerable households in selected communities of Nasarawa Eggon LGA of Nasarawa state, Nigeria .

Related Topics: Strengthening Family Care

In this issue, we highlight the care-related Concluding Observations adopted by the  Committee on the Rights of the Child  at its  84th session  held 2 to 6 March 2020 , with a particular focus on sections addressing children's care.
Click below to read the Country Care Reviews for the following countries:

The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action hosted a webinar on 24 March 2020 to introduce the new  Technical Note: Protection of Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic . Topics covered include:
  • Technical note (what can CP actors do)
  • Updates on the current response
  • Q&A with a panel

Starting 6 April 2020
15 April 2020
22 April 2020
30 April 2020
Registration open until 1 May 2020
25 June 2020
September 2020 (Exact Date TBD)
Rimini, Italy
8 September 2020
Rockwall, Texas, USA
9 September 2020
Rockwall, Texas, USA
13-16 October 2020
Seattle, WA, USA
15-18 November 2020
Adelaide, Australia
16-17 November 2020
Brussels, Belgium
Job Postings and Opportunities
No Deadline Given
No Deadline Given
No Deadline Given
No Deadline Given
No Deadline Given
10 April 2020
14 April 2020
20 April 2020
30 June 2020
31 July 2020

Newsletter participants, currently 4,409 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  [email protected]  or visit our website at  

Thank you!

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