In collaboration with the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) the Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA), and an expert group of service providers, we have developed detailed guidelines for service providers on managing infectious disease in residential settings for young people in out-of-home-care (OOHC). These guidelines include tools for service providers to help deliver services during the COVID-19 pandemic and explore how to mitigate the likely risks and issues facing the wider population of children and young people in staffed residential care homes.


The guidelines have a particular focus on the following three cohorts:

  1. Children and young people with a disability
  2. Children and young people with high behavioural needs
  3. (Therapeutic) Supported Independent Living – SIL and TSIL


The Guidelines bring together a broad range of information sources into one document to support providers to develop and / or further refine their service continuity planning and responses. They provide advice for service providers in relation to:

  • understanding COVID-19 and its effect on children and young people with complex needs
  • conducting active monitoring of COVID-19 symptoms
  • preventing the transfer of infection through adapted service delivery
  • risk mitigation strategies, targeted at both children / young people and staff
  • managing challenging behaviours
  • preparing contingency plans for both suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases
  • understanding the type of staff training required
  • following appropriate infection control and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) advice
  • considering targeted mitigation strategies to manage the mental health needs of staff and children and young people who are likely to be under significant stress due to the pandemic
  • preparing contingency plans for substance users.

ACWA have also developed a series of fact sheets and training material, to assist frontline staff to more easily navigate the guidance.


Click here to view the guidelines.

Click here to view the fact sheets.