COVID-19 resources

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Safeguarding children under Covid-19: what are we learning?

Journal of Children's Services

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to identify and share learning about safeguarding children under Covid-19 drawn from a series of webinars held by the Association of Safeguarding Partners (www.theASP.org.uk). The learning is relevant for health, police, local authority and other relevant safeguarding agencies and includes sharing information about both the challenges and opportunities presented during the Covid-19 pandemic. By creating a webinar lead community of learning, lessons can be drawn that will help safeguard children during the remaining of the pandemic and during the release of lockdown as it emerges. Design/methodology/approach: This paper summarises themes from discussions within three webinars run by The Association of Safeguarding Partners (TASP) (www.theASP.org.uk). Each webinar was attended by between 60 and 80 participants, sessions involving presentations and discussions on topics such as “managing safeguarding reviews at a distance”, “the impact on early years’ provision” and “how work with families and children has changed with remote working methods”. With the participants’ consent, webinars were recorded, and these can be viewed on www.theasp.co.uk. Webinars were supported by an on-line programme: “meeting sphere” capturing comments in a “chat” facility and providing capacity for participants to collectively code comments into themes. Findings: Findings from the webinars note concerns about continuing and undetected abuse of children within and outside of the home; about the changing nature of criminal exploitation; and about the strains created by social distancing on children in families experiencing problems with poor mental health, drug and alcohol misuse and domestic abuse. Findings include some important lessons, including the discovery of innovative ways of working, the rapid collation of data across partnerships and about different methods of engaging with children, young people and families. Findings include suggestions about the impact of changes on the future safeguarding of children. Originality/value: There is little published discussion of the implications of Covid-19 on practitioners working on safeguarding children. While some research is emerging, there have been few opportunities for practitioners to listen to emerging practice ideas under Covid-19 or to discuss in an informal context how to address the new and emerging problems in safeguarding children. This think piece contains original material from webinars held with safeguarding children practitioners and is valuable for those working to safeguard children during and post Covid-19.

Last updated on hub: 30 December 2020

Safeguarding during coronavirus: voluntary and community groups

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

This resource brings together information and guidance that can help the voluntary and community sector safeguard and protect children and young people during the coronavirus pandemic. This includes information about: writing and updating safeguarding and child protection policies and procedures; making sure your staff and volunteers are safe to work with children; supporting children and families; recognising and responding to abuse; carrying out online activities and events; and an overview of the relevant guidance on running safe activities.

Last updated on hub: 23 September 2020

Safeguarding in faith-based organisations during the COVID-19 crisis

Social Care Institute for Excellence

Safeguarding for faith-based organisations during the COVID-19 crisis. Part of the Safeguarding Training Fund; funded by the National Lottery and DCMS.

Last updated on hub: 14 May 2020

Safeguarding pressures phase 7: interim report

The Association of Directors of Children's Services

The seventh phase of a research study which uses survey and interview data from local authorities to examine the safeguarding related pressures facing children's services across England, including changes in demand and provision of children's social care. This interim report, ahead of the study full publication in February 2021, provides key headlines including a focus on the impact of Covid-19. There was a greater variation between authorities in terms of the volume of safeguarding activities in 2019/20, resulting in an overall reduction in referrals and children in need, and increases in contacts, assessments and Section 47 Enquiries in England. The study estimates, based on local authority responses, that there has also been an increase in the number of looked after children, UASC and care leavers. Local authorities reported how their approaches to safeguarding during Covid-19 were effective. Creative uses of technology to engage and support children, families and professionals during the pandemic have been harnessed. However, digital poverty, together with ‘not knowing what is happening behind the camera’ can carry additional problems for some families and groups of children including very young children, and some children with a disability.

Last updated on hub: 05 January 2021

Safeguarding: remote and blended learning: challenges and approaches

Education and Training Inspectorate

This paper identifies the key safeguarding challenges faced by schools and educational and training organisations during the period of educational closures due to COVID-19 and how these have been approached across all phases of education and training. Challenges include: the impact of the absence of day-to-day contact with more vulnerable children and young people; the reported increase in domestic abuse cases during COVID-19; a need to have updated policies reflecting a change to e-learning practices; concerns regarding the use of online remote learning platforms or communication methods; the high numbers of apprentices who have lost their jobs or been furloughed; most European Social Fund (ESF) projects lacking the IT infrastructure for remote learning and on-line support for their participants. The paper sets out a range of examples from each phase detailing how specific organisations have responded and the approaches they have put in place.

Last updated on hub: 20 July 2020

Saving a lost decade: how a new deal for public health can help build a healthier nation

Policy Exchange

This report sets out a blueprint for reforming public health in England. It argues that for far too long healthcare policy has been focused on an institution, the NHS, rather than the health and wellbeing of the population as a whole. The COVID 19 pandemic has exposed the flaws of this approach – high rates of obesity, increasing health inequality and stalling life expectancy have all translated into a higher death rate recorded from the pandemic. Furthermore, the decision to remove health protection functions from Public Health England to a new National Institute for Health Protection presents an opportunity to reimagine and design a better public health system. To achieve that, the report proposes a ‘new deal’, whose core components should include: ambition – a new national strategy for delivering plans for ‘five healthier life years by 2035’ should be published in response to the 2019 Prevention Green Paper, linking plans for ‘levelling up’ to health improvement; national structures – the majority of PHE’s health improvement functions should move into the DHSC with closer Ministerial accountability and a new National Institute for Health Improvement should be established linking health improvement to wider ambitions for Government ‘levelling up’; funding – the Government should maintain the Public Health Grant as the primary mechanism for funding public health through local authorities, but review the amount of money against services and population health need; local government – local authorities should continue as lead public health commissioners; system working and performance – the new National Institute for Health Improvement should work with local public health directors to assess local public health performance and deliver further accelerated improvements.

Last updated on hub: 12 November 2020

Saying goodbye: a resource for care homes

National Activity Providers Association

This resource aims to support people to acknowledge the losses care home staff, their colleagues and the people they support are experiencing during the Covid-19 pandemic. Developed in collaboration with leaders in this field, this resource brings together some information to guide professional through alternative ways in which they can give bereavement support and remember those who passed away. The resource consists of six factsheets focusing on: how to say goodbye; supporting loss and saying ‘goodbye’; supporting people living with dementia in care homes to respond to loss and grief; loss and grief in the care home; acknowledgement of the death of a resident: example of a short, non-religious memorial ceremony; showing respect after death – the Hallmark Farewell, an example of recognition; Starlight Remembrance – a way of collectively sharing grief and acknowledging loss.

Last updated on hub: 22 December 2020

Scotland’s wellbeing: the impact of COVID-19

Scottish Government

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on our health, economy and society, with damaging impacts on the way of life and wellbeing of people in Scotland. This document aims to report on how COVID-19 has affected progress towards Scotland’s National Outcomes. It brings together a range of evidence sources, as well as analysis and insight, to show the impact of COVID-19 across the National Outcomes to date and its potential future impacts. Understanding the breadth of impacts should aid a range of organisations and individuals who are considering how to reset progress towards the national outcomes in light of the pandemic. The evidence presented in this report shows that the pandemic is likely to have significant and wide-ranging impacts, right across the National Outcomes. These impacts will be largely negative, but there are differences across the outcomes in terms of the direction of the changes, the depth and severity of impacts, the level of certainty over the effects and the timeframe over which they may occur. A key finding is that the impacts of the pandemic have been, and are likely to continue to be, borne unequally. Unequal outcomes between different groups existed pre-COVID, and the effects of the pandemic have only worsened this. The evidence to date suggests that health, economy, fair work and business and culture outcomes have been deeply negatively affected so far, and when the labour market impacts fully emerge, this is likely to also have a negative impact on the poverty outcome. Education and children outcomes are also likely to be 5 impacted negatively, but the evidence on the scale of the impact so far is limited and these impacts are likely to take longer to emerge

Last updated on hub: 12 January 2021

Screening for economic hardship for child welfare-involved families during the COVID-19 pandemic: a rapid partnership response

Child Abuse and Neglect

Background: Pandemics have a wide range of economic, health and social consequences related to both the spread of a disease and efforts made by government leaders to contain it which may be particularly detrimental for the child welfare-involved population. This is because child welfare agencies serve some of the highest needs children and families. A significant proportion of these families face economic hardship, and as a result of containment measures for COVID-19, more families inevitably will. Objective: Given the range of negative consequences related to the pandemic and the evolving supports available to families, child protection workers needed a clinical tool to guide and support work with families informed by an understanding of economic hardship. The objective of this paper is to report on the development and implementation strategy of a tool to be used for practice intervention during the pandemic. Methods: Action research methodology was utilized in the creation of the clinical tool. The tool’s development and implementation occurred through an academic/child welfare sector partnership involving child welfare agencies representing diverse regions and populations in Ontario, Canada. Factor analysis of representative child welfare data from the Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect 2018 (OIS-2018) on economic hardship was used to inform the development of questions on the clinical tool. Results: The development and implementation strategy of the clinical tool are described, including the results from analyses of the OIS-2018. Conclusions: Future directions for the project are discussed, including considerations for using this tool beyond the pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 21 January 2021

Seeing the silver lining in the cloud: resiliency demonstrated by children in residential care in India during the Covid-19 crisis

Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care

The main priority during the COVID-19 emergency for Udayan Care, an NGO based in Delhi, India, is to quickly assess the risks and take steps to mitigate them so that the children and youth in the care system, and the care leavers, already unsupported and left in the lurch, do not succumb to the harsh realities caused by the pandemic. This article describes ways in which children and staff have been adapting to the difficult circumstances they are facing.

Last updated on hub: 06 October 2020