For parents

COVID-19 has prompted many changes to the way we live and work. We recognise that this may be a particularly challenging and stressful time for many Queensland families.

It's important that you stay informed about what's happening with COVID-19. Please visit the Queensland Health or Australian Government websites for information on:

  • when you are allowed to leave your home
  • what to do if you are feeling unwell
  • what you should do if you have COVID-19
  • what you should do if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19
  • when to self-quarantine.

Support

Who can I talk to about COVID-19 and keeping my child safe?

We understand that this is a stressful and worrying time for parents, and particularly for those who may not have full time care of their children.

The health and wellbeing of your child continues to be our top priority, and you have a very important role as a parent in your child's life. It's really important that you talk to your child safety officer about how you want to be kept informed of your child's care during this time.

If you are feeling worried, please talk to your child safety officer, reach out to your usual support network, or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Health concerns

What happens if my child, my family or someone in my child's care team becomes unwell?

If your child becomes unwell, your child safety officer will contact you, the child's network and the child's carer to ensure appropriate medical intervention is arranged, if required. If there is a concern that your child has COVID-19, we will follow advice recommended by Queensland Health, and contact you as soon as possible.

If you have underlying health issues that prevent you from leaving the house, please talk to your child safety officer so we can make alternative arrangements for your wellbeing and the wellbeing of your child.

It's natural for you to feel worried about what happens if your child's carer becomes unwell. Your child's carer will be following Queensland Health advice to practice good hygiene and social distancing. In the event that your child's carers become unwell, your child safety officer will work with you, your family, the child's care team to determine the most appropriate arrangement for your child if they are unable to remain with their current carer. Your child safety officer will talk with you about the people in your family and network who could care for the child in the future, if needed.

Face-to-face contact

Will COVID-19 responses impact home visits?

It's important to follow the advice from Queensland Health for you and your family to stay safe.

Before a child safety officer visits your home, or has face-to-face contact with you, they will ask if you, or anyone in your household:

  • have been overseas?
  • have cold/flu symptoms?
  • are in self-quarantine or home isolation?
  • currently have/have had a COVID-19 diagnosis or been in close contact with someone who has?

If the answer to any of these questions is 'yes', your child safety officer will make alternative arrangements for contact, rather than seeing you face-to-face.

If you know the answer is 'yes' to any of these questions, don't wait until your child safety officer asks you. Please contact your child safety officer immediately. The earlier they know this information, the more time they have to make other arrangements to ensure the health and safety of you and your child.

If your child safety officer is visiting your home, be assured that they are complying with advice from Queensland Health regarding frequently washing their hands, using hand sanitiser, not shaking hands and practising social distancing. We ask that you also follow the advice from Queensland Health.

How will family contact visits change?

We understand that maintaining contact with your child is important.

In line with public health directives, family contact will require case-by-case assessment. Assessment will include consideration of any risk factors such as age-related vulnerability, any exposure to COVID-19, or if someone is immune-compromised with underlying health conditions. 

Unless there are health concerns for people involved in facilitating or participating in family contact arrangements, face-to-face family contact will be supported.

Family contact is just like any other contact for parents and their children and includes hugs and kisses as long has hygiene practices have been followed before and after contact.

The health of everyone in your household is important.  This means if the person who helps facilitate the contact is unwell or is in self-isolation because of exposure to COVID-19, or they are immune-compromised and at higher risk of complications from COVID-, we will contact you to work out alternative arrangements for family contact. However, if there are no health concerns for people involved in facilitating or participating in family contact arrangements, face-to-face family contact will be supported. If alternative arrangements are necessary, this could include:

  • talking over the phone or FaceTime with your child (depending on the child's age), or with the child's carer
  • sending photos, a letter, or a book
  • recording videos
  • exchanging emails
  • putting together a small box of items that remind your child of you, such as a favourite book you read together or a favourite game you played together.

Talk with your child safety officer about who is the best person in your family to tell the child about any changes to family contact.

Your child may feel worried about what's happening because of COVID-19 and face-to-face family contact cannot occur. It's important that your child knows that not having face-to-face contact is not anyone's fault, and that the adults in their lives are making decisions to ensure everyone stays healthy and safe.

If a decision to change contact is made, you will receive a written explanation for the restriction placed on the contact arrangements and information about your right to have the decision reviewed in QCAT.

It's important you stay informed about what's happening and to keep everyone safe against infection by following Queensland Health advice.

Will I be required to download the COVIDSafe app?

The Australian Government has launched COVIDSafe — a contact tracing app to help reduce the spread of coronavirus through early notification of possible exposure.

It uses technology to automate an improve what health officials currently do manually. It will speed up the process of identifying people who have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with coronavirus.

COVIDSafe only keeps contact information for 21 days. This covers the maximum incubation period for the virus and the time it takes for someone to be tested for COVID-19. More information about the app, including details on data privacy is available on the Australian Government's Department of Health website.

The use of the COVIDSafe app is completely voluntary. It's a personal choice and individuals will make their own decision whether to download and use the app.

Case plans

Will COVID-19 impact on my case plan goals?

You may be worried that there could be a delay in reunification or other case plan goals you are working towards. Some services may be unable to visit you. If you, or a member of your support network is unable to complete a case plan action because of COVID-19, please talk with your child safety officer so they can arrange a different way for your case plan goals to be achieved.

We understand that many things may be disrupted by COVID-19, if your matter is before the court. In our affidavits to the court, we will advise them of the impact of COVID-19 on the progress of your case plan.

Daily routines

Will my child's daily routine change?

Your child's carer will maintain your child's daily routine as long as it is safe and reasonable. There may be some changes to your child's routine in line with Queensland Health advice on social distancing requirements.

When deciding whether your child goes to school, your child safety officer and your child's carer will consider:

  • Queensland Government advice regarding school attendance
  • any special health issues for your child
  • if any members of the carer's family are at high risk for health reasons.

If your child is attending school, talk with your child safety officer about the measures being put in place for the safety of your child.