COVID-19 resources

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"Don't ever call us unskilled again!'': learning from the experience of support workers during Covid-19


This report is based on responses from the Gr8 Support Covid-19 snapshot survey which invited support workers across the country to capture their experiences, thoughts, ideas and learning during the pandemic and share these with the nation. The report captures how support workers responded during the pandemic with thoughtfulness, creativity and dedication; some key messages and 'must haves' for moving forward beyond the pandemic; the plea of support workers to be valued and recognised as essential and highly skilled members of the social care workforce, not just now but as society moves forward. Key messages in responding to the pandemic emerging from this study include: supported living settings need clear, timely guidance; coronavirus tests must be available in supported living settings; support each person out of lockdown in the way that is right for them; recognise and support the essential role of support workers at this time; recognise and support the role of families and unpaid carers; society needs to act responsibly as lockdown eases; keep building on the community spirit; and get ready for a possible second wave. More broadly, the report calls for valuing and investing in social care; supporting people to regain and experience flourishing lives; increase the pay of support workers to reflect their highly skilled, complex and diverse roles; and ensure the profile of support workers is understood and valued.

Last updated on hub: 23 September 2020

"Oh, this is actually okay": understanding how one state child welfare training system adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic

Child Abuse and Neglect

Background: Training for new and existing child protection system (CPS) caseworkers is critical to developing and maintaining a competent workforce that effectively works towards safety, permanency, and wellbeing outcomes for children in the system. The COVID-19 pandemic required a shift to virtual training to continue training CPS professionals safely. Objective: The purpose of our project was to determine if there were differences in learning outcomes between learners who completed training in the usual delivery methods (Pre-COVID) and the fully virtual delivery methods (Post-COVID). We also sought to understand any factors that facilitated or impeded successful virtual training during the pandemic. Participants and setting: Caseworkers-in-training completed learning and satisfaction assessments through standard continuing quality improvement efforts. Training facilitators, course developers, and leadership completed qualitative interviews. Methods: We assessed quantitative differences in one US state in learner knowledge, satisfaction, and behaviors before and during the COVID-19 pandemic and conducted a qualitative thematic analysis of interviews with training system employees. Results: Overall, there were limited differences in learner outcomes before and after the transition to virtual training delivery. Across the employee interviews, three main themes emerged: organizational culture facilitated the transition, external constraints caused challenges during the transition, and there were opportunities to evolve training practices positively. Conclusions: The shift to a virtual learning environment had little impact on learner knowledge or satisfaction. Employee perspectives indicated that the pre-COVID investment in organizational culture has substantial dividends for performance during the crisis.

Last updated on hub: 21 January 2021

#LeftInLockdown – parent carers’ experiences of lockdown

Disabled Children’s Partnership

Findings from an online survey to assess the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown on families with disabled children across the UK. The survey was promoted between 1 -17 May 2020 via social channels, direct emails to supporters of DCP charities, parent carer groups and networks. The survey covers the following areas: caring in lockdown, information and support, health and social care, education and learning; money and work; and what the government could do to help now and with the transition from lockdown. Parents report an increased caring load, both for themselves and for their disabled children's siblings; they feel exhausted, stressed, anxious and abandoned by society – in many cases, the support families previously received has now stopped. Many families are seeing declines in both mental and physical health – parents are particularly concerned about the pressure of children's behaviour and mental wellbeing; managing home-schooling; and what will happen to their children if they contract Covid-19. The little support that had previously been provided for families has often stopped altogether. Children's friendships, learning and communications, mental and physical health, and emotions and behaviour have all been negatively impacted. In addition, the lockdown is increasing financial pressures on families. Parents call for action now, including: acknowledgement and respect for their situation and the challenges they face; increased support – both financial and services; information and guidance more specifically at families with disabled children; flexibility – including from employers, schools, and around lockdown rules to enable family and friends to provide support.

Last updated on hub: 09 December 2020

‘The faintest stirring of hope became possible’: pandemic postscript

Ethics and Social Welfare

Editorial. While it is still too early to predict what will come, it is already possible to identify some of the values embedded in the pre-COVID19 social and economic life, to examine how they stand up to the epidemic and to start setting the ethical foundations for a post-COVID19 Social Work. The values discussed in the editorial include: free market hegemony, reducing the role of the state, weakening public service, social rights erosion, the faintest hope, what would it take to learn and emerge from this pandemic a better society.

Last updated on hub: 06 October 2020

“Act-as-if you are infected and infectious”: what has the global therapeutic community movement learnt from COVID-19?

Therapeutic Communities: the International Journal of Therapeutic Communities

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is twofold: to reflect upon what the global therapeutic community (TC) movement has learnt from coronavirus and to consider how TCs will continue to adapt and evolve in a post-pandemic climate. Design/methodology/approach: This is a viewpoint paper based on the authors’ participation in an international learning event whereby speakers from TCs from around the world spoke about how they adapted their services to overcome adversity. Findings: The findings are usefully thought out as shelter, creativity, reintegration and employment, technology and roots. Based on the material discussed in the learning event, it would seem that the global TC movement has engaged in a process of looking to the past to move forward by drawing upon founding principles and prescriptions of the TC tradition, rooted in humanistic and indeed humanitarian responses to staff, client and sociocultural needs. Originality/value: According to the author, this paper is one of the first attempts to capture how TCs from across the globe have responded to the threat of coronavirus.

Last updated on hub: 09 December 2020

“Coming second all the time”: life in lockdown for siblings of disabled children


Findings of a survey of 876 parents, exploring the experience of siblings of disabled children during lockdown and the Covid-19 pandemic. The study examines the impact of the lockdown on the mental health and wellbeing of siblings; the challenges in supporting your sibling children; the difficulties faced by sibling children during lockdown; whether the lockdown meant that siblings had to provide more care to their brothers or sisters. The analysis shows that 75% of respondents felt that their sibling child’s mental health had worsened in lockdown; 50% of siblings were providing more care; and 1 in 3 siblings are feeling isolated and missing the support of family and friends. The survey also asked what would have helped parents and siblings during lockdown. The solutions put forward include: respite; financial support; space; exercise equipment; entertainment and toys; outdoor play equipment; having a safe and accessible garden; iPads, computers and electronic games; recognition and rewards.

Last updated on hub: 16 June 2020

“It's about how much we can do, and not how little we can get away with”: Coronavirus-related legislative changes for social care in the United Kingdom

The coronavirus pandemic, referred to here as Covid-19, has brought into sharp focus the increasing divergence of devolved legislation and its implementation in the United Kingdom. One such instance is the emergency health and social care legislation and guidance introduced by the United Kingdom Central Government and the devolved Governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in response to this pandemic. This article provides a summary, comparison and discussion of these proposed and actual changes with a particular focus on the impact on adult social care and safeguarding of the rights of citizens. To begin, a summary and comparison of the relevant changes, or potential changes, to mental health, mental capacity and adult social care law across the four jurisdictions is provided. The article also critiques the immediate and longer term implications for adult social care, including mental health and mental capacity. At the time of publication several core themes emerged: concerns around process and scrutiny; concerns about possible changes to the workforce and last, the possible threat on the ability to safeguard human rights. It has been shown that, ordinarily, legislative provisions across the jurisdictions of the UK are different, save for Wales (which shares most of its mental health law provisions with England). Such divergence is also mirrored in the way in which the suggested emergency changes could be implemented. Aside from this, there is also a wider concern about a lack of parity of esteem between social care and health care, a concern which is common to all. What is interesting is that the introduction of CVA 2020 forced a comparison to be made between the four UK nations which also shines a spotlight on how citizens can anticipate receipt of services. Citation: Vicary S. et al. (2020) “It's about how much we can do, and not how little we can get away with”: Coronavirus-related legislative changes for social care in the United Kingdom. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 72, 101601.

Last updated on hub: 13 November 2020

“Spend time with me”: children and young people’s experiences of COVID-19 and the justice system

Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice

This paper shares findings from research gathering the views of children and young people with experience of the justice system on COVID-19 and associated restrictions. Youth justice practitioners were also consulted, and shared practice examples as case studies. The study shows that the biggest issues facing children and young people in the justice system are isolation and lack of contact with others. Boredom, lack of activity and being stuck at home were also reported to be significant issues in complying with restrictions. This is in spite of almost all children and young people reporting they have been able to stay in touch with family and friends, and practitioners developing creative methods to sustain contact, and continue to support children, young people and their families. Particular challenges were identified with the operation of the justice system across all areas of the Whole System Approach. Some existing challenges such as delays to processes and release from custody have been exacerbated by COVID-19. A range of factors have worked in supporting children and young people: keeping in touch through creative methods; ensuring access to things to keep them occupied, practical resources and technology; working with partners; and the dedication of staff. This evidence has been used to inform the Alternative Child Rights Impact Assessment about the coronavirus, commissioned by the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland.

Last updated on hub: 29 June 2020

“We are alone in this battle”: a framework for a coordinated response to COVID-19 in nursing homes

Journal of Aging and Social Policy

As of May 2020, nursing home residents account for a staggering one-third of the more than 80,000 deaths due to COVID-19 in the U.S. This pandemic has resulted in unprecedented threats to achieving and sustaining care quality even in the best nursing homes, requiring active engagement of nursing home leaders in developing solutions responsive to the unprecedented threats to quality standards of care delivery during the pandemic. This perspective offers a framework, designed with the input of nursing home leaders, to facilitate internal and external decision-making and collective action to address these threats. Policy options focus on assuring a shared understanding among nursing home leaders and government agencies of changes in the operational status of nursing homes throughout the crisis, improving access to additional essential resources needed to mitigate the crisis’ impact, and promoting shared accountability for consistently achieving accepted standards in core quality domains.

Last updated on hub: 08 June 2020

“Whatever it takes”: Government spending on children and young people – the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the 2020 Spending Review

National Children's Bureau

This report sets out an analysis of the 2020 Spending Review, showing that the approach is still too piecemeal to deliver a better childhood for the UK’s children. Many children, young people and families benefited through the universal measures taken in response to the pandemic, including the Coronavirus Job Retention (‘furlough’) Scheme and the £20-a-week uplift in Universal Credit. Other measures were more specifically targeted at children and young people in low-income households. However, while the Treasury has made much needed spending commitments in some areas, there have been major omissions in others. These include: no commitments to counteract rising child poverty; no support to make babies and young children a priority; not enough to protect young people’s mental health; no solution to the sustained crisis in children’s social care.

Last updated on hub: 22 December 2020