COVID-19 resources

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Childhood in the time of Covid

Children’s Commissioner for England

Examining the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on children, this report provides a roadmap for what should be done to help them recover from their experiences of the last six months and the ongoing crisis. It focuses on specific aspects and settings that affect children’s experiences, including: education; children with special educational needs and disabilities; social care; looked after children and care leavers; health; early years; youth justice; housing; and family life. Even before the crisis struck, there were 2.2 million vulnerable children living in risky home situations in England, including nearly 800,000 children living with domestic abuse and 1.6 million living with parents with severe mental health conditions. The report warns these numbers are likely to have swelled, fuelled by families locked down in close quarters for weeks and months, and an emerging economic crisis adding pressures on family finances. Some of the most vulnerable children, including children in care, children in custody and children with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities have seen their rights actively downgraded at a time when protections should have been increased, not weakened. The report makes a number of recommendations, calling for a comprehensive recovery package for children to mitigate the damage caused by the crisis thus far – through greater investment in early help services, targeting resources to reduce educational disparities between disadvantaged children and their wealthier peers, increasing focus on pastoral care, and pushing back as far as possible next year’s summer exams; and for children to be put at the heart of planning for further lockdowns, local or national – ensuring children’s rights and protections are upheld, ensuring respite services for disabled children and their families continue to operate, and reviewing the rule of six over time with a view to exempting children under 12.

Last updated on hub: 01 October 2020

Children and COVID19: understanding impact on the growth trajectory of an evolving generation

Children and Youth Services Review

The COVID19 pandemic has forced the world to be closed in a shell. It has affected large population worldwide, but studies regarding its effect on children very limited. The majority of the children, who may not be able to grasp the entire emergency, are at a bigger risk with other problems lurking behind the attack of SARS-CoV-2 virus. The risk of infection in children was 1.3%, 1.5%, and 1.7% of total confirmed COVID-19 cases in China, Italy and United States respectively which is less compared to 2003 epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), when 5–7% of the positive cases were children, with no deaths reported while another recent multinational multicentric study from Europe which included 582 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) confirmed children of 0–18 year of age, provide deeper and generalize incite about clinical effects of COVID19 infection in children. According to this study 25% children have some pre-existing illness and 8% required ICU (intensive care unit) admission with 0.69% case fatality among all infected children. Common risk factor for serious illness as per this study are younger age, male sex and pre-existing underlying chronic medical condition. However, we need to be more concerned about possible implications of indirect and parallel psychosocial and mental health damage due to closure of schools, being in confinement and lack of peer interaction due to COVID19 related lockdown and other containment measures. The effects can range from mood swings, depression, anxiety symptoms to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, while no meaningful impact on COVID19 related mortality reduction is evident with school closure measures. The objective of this paper is to look at both the positive & negative effects in children due to COVID19 related indirect effects following lockdown and other containment measures. There is a need to gear up in advance with psychological strategies to deal with it post the pandemic by involving all stakeholders (parents, teachers, paediatricians, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric social workers, counsellors), proposing an integrated approach to help the children to overcome the pandemic aftermath.

Last updated on hub: 15 January 2021

Children in lockdown: the consequences of the coronavirus crisis for children living in poverty

The Childhood Trust

Draws together emerging evidence to highlight some of the most pressing concerns that government and third sector organisations need to address to mitigate the effects on children of the COVID-19 crisis. The report explores six dimensions: emotional and physical abuse; mental health concerns; educational learning loss; hunger and food insecurity; homelessness and temporary housing risks; and playtime and well-being. Key messages include: the lockdown increases the opportunity for children to witness domestic abuse and/or endure emotional or physical abuse at the hands of their family members; children and young people are reporting higher instances of depression, anxiety, and loneliness, compared to older cohorts; with the majority of children and young people transitioning to remote learning during the pandemic, students from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to fall behind and experience educational learning loss as they have limited access to technology; the closure of schools has meant that many children and young people living in poverty are suffering hunger and malnutrition, and the voucher system that the government rolled out is not adequately responding to this challenge; practising social distancing and staying safe and health is significantly more difficult for families and children that experience homelessness and/or are living in temporary housing; the physical well-being and the ability to play is of crucial importance for the health of children and young people.

Last updated on hub: 06 July 2020

Children in prison during the Covid-19 pandemic

Howard League for Penal Reform

This briefing, from the Howard League for Penal Reform, provides an insight into the additional difficulties that young people in prison are experiencing during the Covid-19 pandemic. It reports that, in response to coronavirus, the regime in prisons has been severely restricted, with most children being placed in prolonged solitary confinement. There are no face to face visits, virtually no face to face education and no therapy. Children are experiencing particular difficulties in accessing the support they need to plan for release.

Last updated on hub: 11 May 2020

Children of COVID-19: pawns, pathfinders or partners?

British Medical Association

Opinion piece published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, 46(8) 2020. Countries throughout the world are counting the health and socioeconomic costs of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the strategies necessary to contain it. Profound consequences from social isolation are beginning to emerge, and there is an urgency about charting a path to recovery, albeit to a ‘new normal’ that mitigates them. Children have not suffered as much from the direct effects of COVID-19 infection as older adults. Still, there is mounting evidence that their health and welfare are being adversely affected. Closure of schools has been a critical component of social isolation but has a far broader impact than the diminution of educational opportunities, as important as these are. Reopening of schools is therefore essential to recovery, with some countries already tentatively implementing it. Children’s interests are vital considerations in any recovery plan, but the question remains as to how to address them within the context of how society views children; should they be regarded as pawns, pathfinders or partners in this enterprise?

Last updated on hub: 20 August 2020

Children of the pandemic: policies needed to support children during the COVID-19 crisis

Institute for Public Policy Research

A briefing paper outlining the steps that the Government needs to take to support of children and their families during the Covid-19 crisis. It argues the UK's social safety net needs to be strengthened and that children and families need access to essentials like outdoor space and digital access. Specific policy recommendations include: the right to paid parental leave for those who need to look after children under the government's coronavirus job retention scheme; increasing the child element of universal credit; an emergency one-off payment through child benefit to help families with additional costs; preventing educational disadvantage through the provision of broadband to children living in households without it; encouraging owners of private green spaces to offer open access to children and families in homes without a garden.

Last updated on hub: 31 March 2020

Children’s rights impact assessment on the response to Covid-19 in Scotland

Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland

This report presents an independent children’s rights impact assessment on the emergency (CRIA) measures introduced by Scottish Government and UK Government to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The report outlines the framing and context for this independent CRIA and considers the predicted impacts of the COVID-19 measures on children and young people’s human rights. The overview then looks ahead to issues as Scotland comes out of the crisis, lessons learned, and conclusions for responding to the challenges and ensuring that children and young people’s human rights are respected, protected and fulfilled. While acknowledging that legislative decisions have been primarily concerned with protecting children’s, young people’s and their families’ rights to survival and development, the report looks at where such rights may have been limited unreasonably, and how such rights can be best addressed currently and into the future. It identifies three systemic issues that if addressed would ensure children and young people’s human rights are better respected, protected and fulfilled as the transition is made to the ‘new normal’. These are: law reform – COVID-19 has starkly highlighted areas of existing Scots law that are not compliant with the UNCRC; data and resources – for example, disaggregated data is needed to understand impact on children and young people from Gypsy/Traveller communities; asylum seeking, refugee and migrant children and young people; and those living in families affected by disability; and improving children’s rights impact assessments – ensuring for instance that they pay greater attention to children’s best interests, non-discrimination and participation.

Last updated on hub: 23 July 2020

Children’s rights in Great Britain: submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

Equality and Human Rights Commission

This submission aims to provide the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) with information on the implementation of the rights set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in Great Britain since it was last reviewed by the UN CRC in 2016. The thematic areas covered include: equality and human rights framework, looking at the implications of Covid-19 and Brexit; living standards and poverty; education; children in institutions; youth justice; refugee and migrant children; health, including mental health; and violence and personal safety, covering violence against children and trafficking and exploitation. The report raises concerns about how the pandemic is exacerbating existing inequalities, and having a devastating impact on children’s rights, well-being and futures. Key concerns include more children being pushed into poverty, widening educational inequalities and worsening mental health. School closures and inequalities in home-learning environments also risk exacerbating growing attainment gaps for certain groups, including disabled pupils, some ethnic minorities, and those who are socio-economically disadvantaged. The shift to online learning risks undermining the right to education and may have a long-term effect on attainment. The report also cites challenges affecting special educational needs and disability (SEND) provision in schools, with staff shortages, social distancing rules and the need to concentrate resources on the health emergency resulting in local authorities reducing SEND provision and, in some cases, ceasing it all together. Although the effect of the pandemic on children’s mental health is not yet fully understood, the report warns that the combined impact of limited capacity within the mental health service and children being cut off from support at school, could be severe and long-lasting.

Last updated on hub: 01 December 2020

Children’s social care guide to keeping families safe from domestic abuse throughout the COVID-19 emergency

SafeLives

This guidance is for professionals working in children’s social care including children's social workers, family practitioners and early help teams during the COVID-19 crisis. The guide is structured around the following areas: coordination and multi-agency working; risk assessment and risk management; safety planning; children and young people; forced marriage, ‘honour’-based violence and abuse; perpetrators; child or adolescent to parent violence and abuse. There is an appendix with a list of resources, links and additional reading, including a list of helplines for both adult and child victims and those perpetrating abuse.

Last updated on hub: 30 June 2020

Children's guide to coronavirus

Children’s Commissioner for England

A guide for children to help explain the situation during the coronavirus pandemic. It aims to answer children's questions about coronavirus (COVID-19), tell children how to stay safe and protect other people and how to help them make the best of their time at home.

Last updated on hub: 01 April 2020