COVID-19 resources

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Recovery plan: safeguarding and child protection

The Children's Society

This briefing sets out the principle concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on the safety and wellbeing of children and the ability of agencies to respond to situations where children are at risk of harm within their family unit, or from others online and in communities. It outlines short-term and long-term actions that national and/or local government should prioritise to protect children in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. There is very limited evidence on the full impact of the pandemic and lockdown on children and families but the available data and evidence from practitioners working directly with families and children highlight a number of emerging concerns, including: low visibility of children during lockdown; impact on the child protection services; lack of support for families under stress; children in domestic abuse situations; victims of child sexual abuse; child victims of criminal exploitation; children missing from home; young carers; increase in online risks; and pressures on the family justice system. To address the impact of COVID-19 on safeguarding children now and in the future the briefing recommends that the Government: ensure that all children at risk are reached with an offer of help; invest in children’s services capacity to safeguard children; ensure that all vulnerable children are supported to go back to education; put experiences of children and families at the heart of future responses; be ambitious in national policy changes.

Last updated on hub: 29 July 2020

Recovery plan: children in care and care leavers

The Children's Society

This briefing sets out key concerns about children in care and care leavers and the systems and structures that have been affected by COVID-19. It outlines the short-term and long-term actions that national and/or local government should prioritise when planning their support for children in care and care leavers in the context of COVID-19. The extent of the impact of the pandemic and ‘lockdown’ on the care system and care experienced young people is yet to be fully understood but emerging concerns include: placement breakdowns; safeguarding of children and young people in unregulated accommodation; children missing from care; impact on children and young people’s mental health; contact with families; out of area placements; care leavers; sufficiency and operational capacity. To address the impact of the pandemic on care experienced young people now and in the future, the briefing recommends that the Government: protect the rights and entitlements of care experienced young people; ensure care experienced young people can access education; support mental health and wellbeing of care experienced young people, ensuring trauma-informed approaches underpin the support children in care receive; be ambitious for, and supportive of, the needs of care leavers; put children’s interests, wishes and experiences at the heart of the Care Review, addressing early support work with families, sufficiency and commissioning of care placements, use of unregulated accommodation, trauma-informed practice, and support for social care professionals and carers.

Last updated on hub: 29 July 2020

Recovery planning for Covid-19: back to school

The Children's Society

This briefing sets out a recovery plan as children return to school following Covid-19 lockdown. It outlines a number of short, and longer term, actions that national Government, local authorities, and schools, could take to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic on children’s lives and ensure that education systems are strengthened and made more resilient for the future. Specifically, the paper focuses on children mental health and wellbeing, safeguarding aspects, learning and attainment and financial hardship and poverty. The briefing calls on the Department for Education to establish a national programme of wellbeing measurement for children and young people; and to facilitate a comprehensive and inclusive review of the impact of lockdown on education, shaped by the voices of children, parents and carers, teachers and other school staff, charities supporting children and families, unions and the Department.

Last updated on hub: 29 July 2020

Recovery planning for Covid-19: children and young people’s mental health

The Children's Society

This briefing outlines the key challenges Covid-19 has presented in relation to children and young people's mental health and what changes need to be implemented during the recovery period. The coronavirus pandemic will have far-reaching consequences for babies’, children and young people’s mental health. Before the pandemic, one in eight children and young people aged 5-19 in England had a diagnosable mental health condition. The pandemic will have posed serious challenges to the mental health of these young people but there is also growing evidence that lockdown has had a much wider impact on children’s mental health that could have long term implications. The briefing makes specific short and long-term recommendation for each age group (pre-birth to 4 years of age, primary and secondary school, post-16 support) and for the wider mental health support system, including ensuring community based support services are given additional funding and support to increase capacity over the long-term; reviewing child and adolescent mental health services (CYPMHS) to prepare for the rise of referrals; and setting out detailed plans about how the Government will meet the target in the NHS Long Term Plan for 100 per cent of children and young people who need specialist mental health care to be able to access it in the coming decade.

Last updated on hub: 29 July 2020

Early years recovery briefing

The Children's Society

This briefing highlights concerns about the impact of Covid-19 on children under 5 and their families and sets out recommendations for action. It highlights short and long-term strategies and actions aimed at: strengthening public health, perinatal, parent-infant and child mental health, and community services, starting in the first 1001 days (from conception through to age two); and strengthening the role of early education and childcare settings. It calls on the Government to ensure that the physical and emotional needs of the youngest children are considered more explicitly and transparently by those making decisions about the response to COVID-19; develop a single, cross-government Children’s Recovery Strategy, co-developed with families and young children; develop a fully resourced, trained and valued early years workforce, including a skilled community-based practitioner and volunteer workforce, through the development of a Children’s Workforce Strategy.

Last updated on hub: 29 July 2020

Post-Covid policy: child poverty, social security and housing

The Children's Society

This briefing sets out recommendations in relation to poverty, social security and housing for the Covid-19 recovery phase. The coronavirus crisis has been extremely damaging for children, at all stages of their life. The social security system, the housing system and crisis support delivered at a local level have a key role in supporting children and families to recover from the crisis, which may take years. While the government has acted quickly to establish measures to support people financially during this crisis, children and families have been noticeably absent from this support package. Gaps in the social security system and cuts to crisis support have meant that some families have been left without any financial support or form of safety net. The paper sets out detailed short-term and long-term asks for the government including ensuring the adequacy and accessibility of the benefits system; ensuring that children and homeless families are not placed in accommodation that is harmful to their health and wellbeing, including converted office blocks and housing of multiple occupancy with shared facilities; and providing crisis support and improved and sustained funding for voluntary sector organisations, especially second-tier welfare advice sector.

Last updated on hub: 29 July 2020

Delivering a Coronavirus recovery that works for children: summary and recommendations

The Children's Society

This briefing sets out an approach to delivering a recovery from the impact of COVID-19 that works for all children. Such an approach is underpinned by a set of principles, including taking an integrated and holistic approach, promoting children’s rights and entitlements, treating children as partners, reducing inequalities, committing to a comprehensive, long-term funding settlement, responding to the changed needs, investing in the workforce, adopting relationship-based, person-centred models of care. Experts from across the children’s sector have been working closely together to produce a set of briefings summarised in this paper. These briefings build on these principles to begin to set out an approach to delivering a recovery which works for children across six key areas: child poverty and social security; mental health and wellbeing; early years recovery; supporting children in care and care leavers; safeguarding and child protection; and school returns.

Last updated on hub: 29 July 2020

Living in poverty was bad for your health before COVID-19

The Health Foundation

This long read looks at the link between health and income. It explores the nature of the economic shocks experienced in recent years, including those stemming from COVID-19, and the consequences these might have on people’s health. It then considers how the current crisis may be used to build a fairer and healthier society. The paper highlights the extent to which income is associated with health – people in the bottom 40% of the income distribution are almost twice as likely to report poor health than those in the top 20% and poverty in particular is associated with worse health outcomes. Furthermore, income and health can both affect each other – lower income is associated with more ‘stressors’ which can harm health and allow fewer opportunities for good health. Poor health can limit the opportunity for good and stable employment and so affect income. The UK entered the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and related economic shock from a starting position of stagnant income growth and low levels of financial resilience – the pattern of employment loss and furloughing by income suggests that the future economic consequences of COVID-19 may be borne by those on lower incomes. The paper argues that providing support to bolster people’s incomes for as long as necessary should remain a priority and the Government’s current package of support should be expanded. In addition, the ‘levelling up’ agenda should include investment to improve the health of the whole population and level up health outcomes.

Last updated on hub: 29 July 2020

Flipping social care: stepping into the unknown

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services

This briefing considers how social care can be seen as an investment in communities and not just as an unavoidable cost to society. The principle of ‘flipping social care’, which is the focus of the paper, is about recognising and valuing the economic benefits and opportunities that flow from a vibrant and well-resourced social care sector. Whilst acknowledging that Covid-19 has challenged the sector in countless ways, the paper suggests that the case for the sector as a driver for economic prosperity remains intact, and it is arguably stronger than before. The sector has long been wrestling with the fact that the solutions and approaches to health and care that are used today are unlikely to be sustainable as demand continues to grow – the pandemic is magnifying the challenge and accelerating the urgency with which this must be met. The paper sets out how the ‘flipping social care’ principle can be realised through a vision for adult social care in the West Midlands. This entails putting justice for the most vulnerable and marginalised citizens at the centre; ensuring decisions about local areas are entrusted to the people who live and work locally, have a track record and know what their communities need; delivering truly-integrated working across social care and health services; building a strong case for intelligent public investment in social care as a driver for economic prosperity as well as social wellbeing; moving away from offering care from buildings to planning support around a person’s strengths and needs; using data and technology to understand what people need and how to target help and support more effectively; and designing a new and better way to ensure social care staff are paid fairly for what they do and can work in a healthy, supported and flexible way.

Last updated on hub: 28 July 2020

Direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19 on health and wellbeing: rapid evidence review

Liverpool John Moores University

This rapid review identifies the current evidence on the direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19 on health and wellbeing. Rapid searches were carried out of the academic and grey literature between 18 May and 8 June 2020 to scope and collate evidence. These sources were analysed and used to prepare this rapid evidence review. The findings show that the impacts of COVID-19 have not been felt equally – the pandemic has both exposed and exacerbated longstanding inequalities in society. Conversely, there is also evidence of increased civic participation in response to the pandemic and a positive impact on social cohesion. However, social isolation and loneliness have impacted on wellbeing for many. There are serious concerns about how the combination of greater stress and reduced access to services for vulnerable children and their families may increase the risk of family violence and abuse. Compounding this, safeguarding issues have been largely hidden from view during lockdown. In addition, the review finds that the pandemic has both disrupted and changed the delivery of NHS and social care services. Concerns have been raised about significant drops in A&E use and the health care needs of people with long-term conditions have been significantly impacted. The report concludes by arguing that as we move from the response phase into recovery, the direct and wider impacts of the pandemic on individuals, households and communities will influence their capacity to recover.

Last updated on hub: 28 July 2020

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