Coronavirus update

Information for the public regarding the coronavirus outbreak

Update as at 25 March 2020

NACCC and our members have been through some really challenging times over the last couple of weeks, but we have seen our child contact centres rise to this challenge time and time again. NACCC are very proud to support such a dedicated group of people who have shown that they will go far beyond what could reasonably be expected of them to ensure that children can carry on enjoying contact with the people they care about. NACCC are firm in the belief that Parenting shouldn’t end when relationships do and we want to say a heartfelt Thank You to all of our colleagues working hard to make this a reality in these extraordinary times.

Child Contact Centres are and will remain safe places for children to see people that they no longer live with. In order for them to maintain the highest levels of safety it is particularly important that we stay on top of current events relating to the Coronavirus. In order to do this NACCC have been working with public bodies across the United Kingdom to ensure that we have the most up to date information for our members and the general public. It is for this reason that NACCC are now recommending that Child contact centres suspend offering face to face contact but continue offering their invaluable services using technology where this is possible.

The Coronavirus is likely to be really frightening for children depending upon their levels of understanding. Bearing in mind the messages they will be hearing on the television, online and from their friends it is important that we feel confident to talk openly with them, but also in a way that is reassuring and developmentally appropriate. Childline has a range of information to support children and young people. There are more resources that you might find helpful when talking to children and some that they can safely access alone at the end of this information.

Child Contact Centres have been in the very difficult situation of having to make judgements about whether they are able to offer services that are safe and effective whilst also being equally concerned about not taking steps to cause unnecessary disruption to the attachments that children have and seek to maintain with people they care about but no longer live with.

Up to this point, many centres have been able to take steps to stay open and to continue offering their services. NACCC, Cafcass, Cafcass Cymru and other bodies as appropriate will continue to work pro-actively with these centres to ensure that there is a diverse range of services where this is safe and appropriate.

A number of accredited Child Contact Centres are looking at alternative ways to ensure that child contact can continue to take place, some of the methods being explored and delivered include:

1.    Centres are working creatively with families to see if there are other people that might be able to take up the role of the contact centre. This works well where there are family members or other trusted people that can step in, to support. The government has detailed that children can travel to see parents and the judiciary are urging parents to work together in making decisions for children where this is safe and appropriate.

2.    Indirect Contact is being achieved using technology like skype, WhatsApp video calling, facetime and so on. Some centres are finding ways to support this so that similar arrangements can be implemented in line with the services usually being offered.

3.    Other centres are reducing service sizes and availability. This means that whilst the centre may have suspended contact, it might be possible for them to offer handovers for those parents who just cannot organise this without the centre.

At this point we would strongly urge members of the public to contact NACCC or your local contact centre to find out what services are available locally and when this might change. Information about how to find and contact your local centre can be found here:

Keeping everyone safe is our first priority. Therefore, we would ask you to continue to make yourself aware of any national and local information that is being offered about services and restrictions that might be applicable. The NHS website also has good quality information that is easy to understand in relation to keeping safe.

Should I attend a child contact centre?

At the moment the advice is that children and parents should not attend child contact centres, on the whole.

The government are recommending that everyone (with limited exceptions) should remain at home.

What might symptoms include?

The best advice is to check the NHS website for updated information, however common symptoms could include:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

If you are unsure you should always check by accessing this helpful tool created by the NHS -

To avoid catching the Coronavirus the NHS is currently recommending the following:

  •  Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds

  • Always wash your hands when you get home or into work

  • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze

  • Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards

  • Avoid close contact with people who have symptoms of coronavirus

  • Only travel on public transport if you need to

  • Work from home, if you can

  • Avoid social activities, such as going to pubs, restaurants, theatres and cinemas

  • Avoid events with large groups of people

  • Use phone, online services, or apps to contact your GP surgery or other NHS services

  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

  • Do not have visitors to your home, including friends and family

Cafcass - COVID-19 guidance for children and families

Cafcass has put together guidance to support children and families as the situation surrounding COVID-19 develops.

Further reading and other helpful information

Information for children and young people - Childline. – Newsround – Safe and reliable information for children about Coronavirus. - Centre for Disease Control and Prevention - Talking with children about Coronavirus Disease 2019: Messages for parents, school staff, and others working with children. - National Association of School Psychologists & National Association of School Nurses - Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus) A Parent Resource - Child Mind Institute – How to talk to kids about Coronavirus, YouTube guidance. - Child Mind Institute - Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus, Webpage.

NHS - Coronavirus Overview. - Symptoms Checker. - Stay at home Advice. - Hand Washing Guidance.

World Health Information

Government - Coronavirus (COVID-19): UK government response. - Coronavirus (COVID-19): maintaining educational provision - Welsh Government – Coronavirus Information. - The Northern Ireland Executive. - Guernsey Government - Coronavirus Information. - Isle of Man Government – Coronavirus Information.

Public Health Bodies - Public Health England - Public Health Wales. - Public Health Northern Ireland.

ARCHIVE Information from NACCC for the public regarding the coronavirus outbreak

To download the paper please click on the Adobe Reader icon below. If you do not have the correct software installed then you can download free viewers. ( PDF Reader )

Information for the public as at 23 March 2020

Information for the public as at 17 March 2020