COVID-19 resources for managers and leaders

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Lifeline for all children and families with no recourse to public funds

The Children's Society

This report is focused on the experiences of families with dependent children who have ‘no recourse to public funds’ (NRPF) conditions on their leave to remain in the UK and are on the ten-year route to settlement. It is based on a review of available literature; analysis of data from the Home Office, the NRPF Network and The Children's Society's services; and on qualitative interviews with parents with direct experience of living with ‘no recourse to public funds’. The report shows that prior to the COVID-19 crisis families with NRPF conditions applied to their leave to remain in the UK were already facing an uphill battle. They were unable to rely on the lifeline of mainstream benefits, which are already means-tested by DWP for those on low income or facing financial hardship, illness or disability. The report argues that these additional, punitive Home Office-imposed restrictions mean that regardless of their needs or the hardship they face, including caring for a child with disabilities and having only one income to rely on, parents receive no support from mainstream benefits. The report makes a series of recommendations for policy, practice and further research. Among these are an urgent call on government to suspend NRPF conditions, immigration fees and Immigration Health Surcharge so families can access the lifeline of benefits during the COVID-19 outbreak. The government should also automatically extend all leave to remain including for those on the ten-year route and make this clear in guidance so that those whose leave is expiring during the pandemic are not put at greater risk of losing their jobs and livelihood.

Last updated on hub: 01 July 2020

Report 01: findings from the first 1500 participants on parent/carer stress and child activity

Emerging Minds

This report is based upon the data from the first 1,500 parents and carers who have taken part in an online survey tracking the mental health of school-aged children and young people aged 4-16 years throughout the COVID-19 crisis. These participants completed the survey during a 6-day period, between Monday 30th March and Saturday 4th April – for most young people, this will have been the last week of the school term prior to the Easter holiday. The report focuses on the parent and carer stress and how children and young people are reported to spend their time. The report indicates that the top three stressors for parents and carers were work, their children’s wellbeing, and their family and friends (outside their household); early two third of parents and carers reported that they were not sufficiently meeting the needs of both work and their child; just over half the children and young people completed 2 or more hours of schoolwork per day; nearly three quarter of children and young people are keeping in contact with friends via video chat; and round three quarter of children and young people are getting more than 30 minutes of exercise per day.

Last updated on hub: 01 July 2020

Report 02: Covid-19 worries, parent/carer stress and support needs, by child special educational needs and parent/carer work status

Emerging Minds

This report provides cross-sectional data from the approximately 5,000 parents and carers who, between 30/03/20 and 29/04/20, have taken part in an online survey tracking the mental health of school-aged children and young people aged 4-16 years throughout the COVID-19 crisis. The report focuses on the following outcomes: parent and carer reported child worries related to COVID-19; parent and carer sources of stress; support and disruptions; parent and carer need for support; and parent and carer preference for the medium of delivery of support. The report reveals that nearly half the parents/carers thought that their child was concerned about family and friends catching the virus; around a third of parents/carers reported that their child was worried about missing school; work is the most frequent source of stress for parents, followed by their child’s emotional wellbeing; parents of children with special educational needs and neurodevelopmental disorders (SEN/ND) report higher levels of stress across all areas; while child behaviour is rarely a stressor for parents of non-SEN/ND children, it was frequently a stressor for parents of children with SEN/ND; 4 in 5 of those who were previously receiving support from services have had this stopped or postponed during the pandemic; parents particularly want support around their child’s emotional wellbeing, education and coming out of social isolation; parents of children with SEN/ND would also like support around managing their child’s behaviour; and parents and carers would value online written materials and videos, while parents with children with SEN/ND would also like online support from professionals.

Last updated on hub: 01 July 2020

Report 03: parents/carers report on their own and their children’s concerns about children attending school

Emerging Minds

This report provides cross-sectional data from approximately 611 parents and carers who have taken part in an online survey tracking the mental health of school-aged children and young people aged 4-16 years throughout the COVID-19 crisis. It focuses specifically on concerns around children and young people attending school during the Covid-19 pandemic. The findings show that parents of children with SEN/ND are particularly uncomfortable about their children attending school, as are parents who do not work, and those with lower incomes. Particular concerns for parents of children with SEN/ND are that their child will not get the emotional, behavioural and educational support that they need, or the support they need with transitions to different groups/classes. Parents of children with SEN/ND or a pre-existing mental health difficulty report that their children are particularly concerned about things being uncertain or different, changes to routine, the enjoyable parts of school not happening, and being away from home.

Last updated on hub: 01 July 2020

Report 04: changes in children and young people’s emotional and behavioural difficulties through lockdown

University of Oxford

This report provides longitudinal data from 2,890 parents and carers who took part in both a baseline and follow up questionnaires tracking the mental health of school-aged children and young people aged 4-16 years throughout the COVID-19 crisis. The report examines changes in parent and carer and adolescent self-reported emotional, behavioural and restless and attentional difficulties over a one-month period as lockdown has progressed. It shows that over a one-month period in lockdown parents and carers of primary school age children report an increase in their child’s emotional, behavioural, and restless and attentional difficulties; parents and carers of secondary school age children report a reduction in their child’s emotional difficulties, but an increase in restless and attentional behaviours; adolescents report no change in their own emotional or behavioural, and restless and attentional difficulties; parents and carers of children with SEN and those with a pre-existing mental health difficulty report a reduction in their child’s emotional difficulties and no change in behavioural or restless and attentional difficulties; parents and carers of high-income households report an increase in their child’s behavioural difficulties.

Last updated on hub: 30 June 2020

Research briefing one: child protection, social distancing and risks from COVID-19

University of Birmingham

This briefing shares some emerging findings about the challenges of achieving social distancing during child protection work, especially on home visits, and how children and families and social workers can be kept safe from COVID-19. The data shows that social workers, family support workers and their managers have worked creatively in addressing the complex practical and moral dilemmas they have faced in implementing social distancing guidance and in aspiring to best practice in helping children and families. The briefing focuses in particular on the implication of going into homes, the impossibility of social distancing, and virtual home visits; Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) use and dilemmas; and the professional values that guide social workers’ decisions about whether or not to conduct in person visits, including selflessness, public accountability and leadership. On the basis of the very early findings from this research, the briefing advises that social work staff should be told that they do not have to take any personal risks they do not feel comfortable with; staff doing visits inside family homes need to be provided with full PPE while other creative ways of seeing children, like in gardens, on walks, and on virtual visits, need to continue; social work leaders and managers at all levels need to address organisational anxieties by constantly being clear with frontline staff that how their practice and record keeping is evaluated will take full account of the constraints placed on their work by COVID-19 and social distancing.

Last updated on hub: 30 June 2020

Guidance for housing providers during COVID-19

Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance

Guidance for housing providers on how they can offer safe responses to their tenants and service users where it is known they are living with domestic abuse or where new concerns arise. Housing providers are uniquely placed to access people in their homes and their response to domestic abuse is therefore even more important during the COVID-19 crisis and lockdown. The guidance covers: spotting the signs; availability of specialist domestic abuse support (national and local services and Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARACs)); raising awareness with all tenants; offering a helpful response to survivors of domestic abuse; advice for residents who are worried about a neighbour, friend or relatives; taking action against perpetrators; supporting staff and colleagues; pets; and other national domestic abuse support services.

Last updated on hub: 30 June 2020

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on violence against women and girls

VAWG Helpdesk

A review of the evidence on how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic – and similar epidemics – might impact on violence against women and girls (VAWG). Evidence on the impact of the outbreak is still at a very early stage and not yet well documented, given that it begun in January 2020. However, some of the early indications are that there are several areas where women and girls are likely to be at increased risk of violence. These include: increased risk of domestic violence; increased risk of workplace violence in the health sector; increased risk of racial and sexual harassment (both online and offline); increased risk of abuse and exploitation for vulnerable women workers; increased risk of VAWG in emergency settings; and increased risk of sexual exploitation and violence by state officials and armed guards. Experience from past epidemics suggests the importance of a ‘twin track’ approach, combining support to organisations working directly with survivors and integrating VAWG into sectoral responses.

Last updated on hub: 30 June 2020

Covid-19 and early intervention: understanding the impact, preparing for recovery

The Early Intervention Foundation

This report explores the impact of COVID-19 on early help – the range of services that would ordinarily be supporting vulnerable children and families below the threshold for statutory local authority support, including targeted support provided by universal services. It considers the response of local services across England to the immediate challenges presented by COVID-19, and the challenges on the horizon. This work was undertaken by EIF and Action for Children between March and May 2020 and is based on 28 semi-structured qualitative interviews with heads of early help services, lead practitioners, and head teachers. Areas of focus include: risk assessment and referral in a virtual environment; virtual delivery of services; maintaining essential face-to-face delivery; closure of school and early years provision; and longer-term issues. The findings indicate that the pandemic has necessitated rapid adaptation of the way that services support vulnerable children and families, characterised by an almost wholesale transition to virtual or online contact while retaining some element of face-to-face provision when needed. There is a unique opportunity to improve the evidence base on virtual delivery of early intervention for children and families through seizing the opportunity for testing and evaluation. Conversely, the professionals recognise that there is a risk that some children and families who became vulnerable or became more vulnerable during the lockdown period could be missed without home visits. The research also identified a clear sense of apprehension among professionals about the longer-term impact of the pandemic and particularly the lockdown period on vulnerable children and families, and about the ability of services to cope with the demand that this will create.

Last updated on hub: 30 June 2020

ADASS budget survey 2020

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services

This report presents the finding of an annual survey of the director of adult social services, focusing on budgets for adult social care in councils and, additionally, on the impact of COVID-19 on adult social care and local authorities’ response to it. From the analysis of the survey responses the following key messages emerge: without significant financial intervention from the Government, the lives of people who use social care and their family carers will be seriously impacted in terms of their lives and wellbeing; the actual costs to local authorities and adult social care providers of the pandemic will far outstrip the Emergency Funding made available by the Government to-date; the risk of already fragile care markets failing has significantly heightened as a result of the impacts of COVID-19; only 4 per cent of respondents are fully confident that their budget will be sufficient to meet their statutory duties this year, down from 35 per cent in 2019/20; a fundamental shift in resources is required from Government as part of a long-term funding settlement for adult social care and to ensure the workforce is adequately rewarded for their commitment and highly skilled and essential work. The report calls for a two-year ringfenced funding settlement for adult social care to cover the additional costs of COVID-19 and to allow reform to be agreed, planned and implemented; a new employment deal with social care staff; reform of the care provider market to ensure sustainability, economic growth and quality of care; and a consultation programme with extensive public engagement over the next two years to build the care and support that people want for the short and long term.

Last updated on hub: 30 June 2020