COVID-19 Advice

It is important to us, as your Corporate Parents, that you are safe and that you have all the information and support that you need during this difficult time.

We understand that you might be feeling anxious or overwhelmed about coronavirus (COVID-19). That’s completely normal, many of us are feeling the same way and you are not alone.

So, with this in mind, we’ve pulled together a big list of useful information and guidance to help you through the outbreak:

The information that we’ve put together on this page is relevant to children in care and care leavers. For further guidance on coronavirus and the latest information on the situation in Devon, visit Devon County Council’s coronavirus (COVID-19) advice page.

The Learning Disability Devon website is an easy read website for people with learning disabilities in Devon and includes information about coronavirus (COVID-19).

Keeping in touch

We will continue to contact you, as we usually do, but this contact can be more regular if you want it to be. Just let us know.

Our Participation Team will also be using different online platforms to stay in contact with you, either individually or in groups. They’re planning to hold several virtual sessions a week, so if you want to find out when these are taking place and how to join, contact them via Instagram or Twitter, or get in touch with your locality participation worker directly. You can find their contact details, and a little bit more about them, on your Stand Up Speak Up website.

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I’m worried, who can I contact?

Don’t worry, we’re here. If you have any question or need advice and support, please contact your personal advisor or social worker, or speak to the duty worker.

Here are the duty team contact numbers:

If you can’t contact them, please email

You can contact Kooth for free, safe and anonymous online support and counselling. Meanwhile, Adopt South West have pulled together a list of helpful resources on their Facebook page and have lots of useful information and updates on their website.

The Nurses in the ‘Children in Care & Care Leavers team’ are very happy for you to contact them too for telephone support and signposting. You can reach them via the Single Point of Access telephone number: 03300 24532, just ask for a Child in Care Nurse. Or you can email

Other support for your mental health and wellbeing

Devon’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are offering additional 24/7 telephone support. Please contact 03300 245 321 during normal hours (8am-5pm, Mon to Fri) or 0300 555 5000 outside these hours.

Young Devon provide information, advice and counselling for children and young people over 11. If you need to talk to someone, please email Anyone already receiving support through Young Devon’s Wellbeing service should email or call 07935364652 and leave a message with your name and contact details.

The ChatHeath text line allows young people aged 11-19 a place to talk completely confidentially with a school nurse about any worries or concerns they may have. Text 07520631722.

Young Minds have a range of help and advice, including advice for young people about how they can look after their own mental health.

Childline have a similar advice page on how to cope during lockdown and also offer a free counselling service online or over the phone.

Meanwhile, the NHS Every Mind Matters website has tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus and how to look after your mental wellbeing while staying at home – you can even make your own Mind Plan.

The NHS has also produced a mood self-assessment tool to help you better understand how you’ve been feeling. And if you become aware that you would like to talk about how you are feeling, mental health helplines can provide support.

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How will the coronavirus effect the care or support I receive?

We don’t know yet how many people will become ill as a result of coronavirus, but it might mean that the usual professionals supporting you, such as your social workers or personal adviser, are less available than normal if they’re unwell. This means that you might have to speak to another member of the team, and things might take a little bit longer than normal.

It’s likely that your regular family time or contact and meetings you had scheduled with the professionals supporting you are disrupted, need to be rescheduled or are temporarily carried out by phone or video calls like Skype rather than face-to-face.

However, remember that these difficulties will be temporary as people recover. Those supporting and caring for you will be doing their best to make sure you get the help you need. If you’re really worried about a particular problem and you don’t feel you’re getting enough support, talk to us.

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What about school, college or university?

Schools and colleges will be opening up again in September, which mean that all children and young people in Devon will be required to go back to school. However, as you might have guess, things will be a little different to normal this year.

Here’s a range of useful information and resources to help you prepare for the return to school in September.

Your carers, social worker, teachers and staff from the Virtual School are all working hard to make sure your education continues in some way. You can read more about changes to Personal Education Plans here.

Exams for qualifications such as GCSEs, BTECs and A Levels were cancelled earlier this year, which had a big impact on grades. You can read more about how results were affected here.

The government has asked universities and colleges to make sure that care leavers get the support they need during the coronavirus outbreak. This should include guaranteed access to appropriate accommodation, continued access to financial support, access for a named contact and access to student support services.

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How will this affect my work or benefits?

The Government advice is that if you can work from home, you should, but this isn’t possible for everyone. You might be worried about being able to continue working or accessing benefits if you can’t work. The Government has announced new plans to make it easier for people to claim sick pay and get benefits, and there’s lots of good advice online.

Here are some useful links:

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I feel fine, what should I be doing?

It’s important that everyone follows the latest guidelines from the NHS on coronavirus and staying at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Make sure you try to stay 2 metres away from other people where possible and, if you’re over 11, make sure you follow the guidance on face coverings. And remember to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as soon as you get home. Also try not to touch your face. If the virus is on your hands, this is how it can travel into your body.

You can meet with friends you do not live with again! But please remember that you can only meet in groups of up to six people. You can also meet in groups of more than six people if everyone is exclusively from two households.

Some people are ignoring this advice, which is dangerous as they could be spreading the virus even if they are feeling ok. This means more people get sick and the hospitals get even busier. And the police can now give a fine to anyone breaking the rules.

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I feel unwell, what should I do?

If you have any of the coronavirus symptoms, including a high temperature or a new, continuous cough, you should self-isolate for 7 days. The NHS website tells you how to do this.

Please tell whoever is supporting you, such as your personal adviser or social worker (e.g. by phone, text or however you would normally contact them outside of face-to-face meetings), if you are unwell or self-isolating as soon as possible so we can come up with a plan to best support you.

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Someone I live with feels unwell, what should I do?

If someone you live with has any of the coronavirus symptoms, including a high temperature or a new, continuous cough, you need to self-isolate for 14 days from the day their symptoms started. This is because it can take 14 days for symptoms to appear. If more than 1 person at home has symptoms, self-isolate for 14 days from the day the first person started having symptoms.

If you get symptoms, self-isolate for 7 days from when your symptoms start, even if it means you’re self-isolating for longer than 14 days. If you do not get symptoms, you can stop self-isolating after 14 days.

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What happens when I’ve finished self-isolating?

You can go outside again! But please follow  latest guidelines from the NHS to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

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Where can I find out more about coronavirus (COVID-19)?

It’s important you make sure you are using trusted sources of information. Just because a story appears online, doesn’t make it true. The internet is great, but it can also be used to spread disinformation in the form of misleading news and content. Make sure you stick to trusted sources of information, and before you like, comment or share online, use the SHARE checklist to make sure you’re not contributing to the spread of harmful content.

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Our top tips for you

The coronavirus (COVID19) outbreak is impacting everyone’s daily lives, especially since the Government has asked everyone to stay at home to help manage the outbreak.

You might find it difficult, but by following guidance on social distancing, or staying at home, you are helping to protect yourself, your friends and loved ones, the NHS and your community.

You’ll probably feel a bit bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also feel low, worried, anxious, or be concerned about your health or that of those close to you. Everyone reacts differently and the way that we think, feel and behave can vary over time. It’s important that you take care of your mind as well as your body and to get support if you need it.

The Government has some useful guidance on how to maintain your mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak.

The NHS also has some useful information, advice and resources for looking after your mental health on their Every Mind Matters website. They also have an online fitness studio with videos of exercises you can do at home.

Young Minds have some good advice about what to do if you’re anxious about coronavirus.

Take a break from the news of social media – It’s really easy to feel overwhelmed by what you read, see and hear, so it’s a good idea to limit the amount of time you spend scrolling. Stick with trusted sources for information.

Talk to people – Keeping in touch with people you trust is important. You won’t be able to meet in person but make some time to catch up with friends and loved ones via phone, video calls or social media. Reducing physical contact doesn’t have to mean reducing social contact.

Share how you’re feeling – It is quite common to feel worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Remember that this is a difficult time for everyone and sharing how you are feeling can help. If you don’t feel able to talk to friends or family, speak to your personal adviser or social worker or contact one of the NHS recommended helplines.

Stay active – Your physical health has a big impact on how you are feeling emotionally and mentally. It’s tempting to watch boxsets and eat junk food, but this can actually make you feel worse! Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, exercise inside where possible and outside once a day, and always make sure you keep 2 metres away from other people.

Do things you enjoy – Focusing on your favourite hobby, doing something new or simply taking time to relax at home can really boost your mood.

Make a plan – If you do find yourself with symptoms, or if someone else you live with develops symptoms, then you’ll need to stay at home for a short while. You can help reduce any worry by planning for this now – you might want to chat with the professionals supporting you about things like food shopping or setting up somewhere for you to work or study.

Get some sleep – Feeling anxious or worried can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep. Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how you feel mentally and physically, so it’s important to get enough. The Every Mind Matters sleep page provides practical advice on how to improve your sleep.

And finally, keep in touch – we are here for you. If you think you would like some extra help, advice or support, even if it’s just a chat, let us know. We are here for you. Either get in contact with your personal adviser or social worker in the usual way or call the duty worker.

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