COVID-19 resources

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12 lessons for children’s social work from practising under Covid

Community Care

The Covid-19 pandemic is presenting governments, social work leaders, managers and frontline practitioners with unique challenges. This article summarises finding of a research study exploring its impact on children, families and child protection social work. Since April 2020, 48 social workers, family support workers and managers from four anonymous research sites have been interviewed, many on a monthly basis. Researchers also spoke with 22 family members and analysed a small number of digital interactions between social workers and parents. The emerging findings contain 12 key lessons for practice now and for the future: social workers have creatively improvised to remain close to children and families; social workers and organisations should trust the digital more, particularly as part of a hybrid practice that combines in-person and digital interactions; digital interactions should be seen as differently, not always less, valuable; existing research and guidance should be developed to maximise the benefits of digital social work and the hybrid practices it generates; social workers have chosen to take risks to support children and families, even when they have been afraid; social workers don’t always maintain a physical distance from children and families; Covid-19 related risk-taking is not just an individual choice but systemic; there is a particular need to develop guidance and share best practice on the use of face masks; social workers and family support workers are providing increased levels of material help and support for families; social workers miss the support of the office; social workers should not be expected to operate alone when supporting and safeguarding children; social workers deserve greater public recognition for their contribution during the pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 16 February 2021

2020 vision: hear me, see me, support me and don’t forget me. The impact of Coronavirus on young and young adult carers in Scotland, and what they want you to do next

Carers Trust Scotland

Findings of a survey of 214 carers aged between 12 and 25 to understand their experiences of living and caring during the pandemic. Whilst some have found positives, such as learning a new skill or building a closer relationship with the person they care for, many more describe feeling stressed, unable to cope and overwhelmed by the pressures they now face: 45% of young carers and 68% of young adult carers in Scotland say their mental health is worse since Coronavirus; 71% of young carers and 85% of young adult carers are more worried about the future since Coronavirus; 69% of young carers and 76% of young adult carers are feeling more stressed since Coronavirus; 74% of young carers and 73% of young adult carers are feeling less connected to others since Coronavirus; 58% of young carers are feeling that their education has suffered since Coronavirus; 11% of both young and young adult carers report an increase of 30 hours or more in the amount of time they spend caring per week; 6% of young carers and 11% of young adult carers are spending over 90 hours a week caring for a family member or friend. The young and young adult carers who shared their thoughts and experiences with us have been clear about what they want and need: support for their emotional wellbeing and mental health; help to stay connected to friends and their communities; breaks from their caring role and the support of specialist young and young adult carers services; more help to balance caring, education and employment; support to stay fit and healthy.

Last updated on hub: 16 March 2021

4 reasons housing providers must revise their telecare needs post COVID-19

Appello

This guide highlights the changing landscape for the delivery of technology enabled care services (TECS). It draws on findings from interviews and independent research undertaken with the Housing Learning and Improvement Network (LIN) of 120 senior executives from providers of supported, sheltered and retirement housing. The analysis indicates that 85% housing providers report their perceptions on the use of technology have changed as a result of COVID-19 while 74% feel that their requirements for telecare and wellbeing technologies have changed as a result of the pandemic. The document sets out four key reasons that support the strengthening and consolidation of the telecare offer within housing settings and makes recommendations on how to achieve this. The four reasons are: vulnerable communities need support to maintain their social connections – there is huge potential for housing providers to harness communication technologies to help connect older people and promote digital inclusion; remote working will be here to stay – 80% of housing providers believe video communication between residents and staff is becoming more important to their organisation because of COVID-19; how we access healthcare services will change – for instance, it is likely that the pandemic will be the catalyst for greater use of video appointments within the health sector; more services are being accessed online – in an uncertain world, with shielding and social distancing it is becoming even more vital to help older and vulnerable people to access support, and services from paying bills online to accessing pensions and shopping from home while keeping safe.

Last updated on hub: 04 August 2020

590 people’s stories of leaving hospital during COVID-19

Healthwatch England

This report shines a light on people’s experiences of getting home from hospital during the pandemic. In March 2020, the Government introduced a new hospital discharge policy to help the NHS free up beds by getting people out of hospital quickly. This meant anyone who may need out-of-hospital support to help them recover would now have their needs assessed after being discharged (discharge to assess), rather than in hospital. The report drawn on a survey over 500 patients and carers and 47 in-depth interviews with health and care professionals involved in the hospital discharge process. Key findings include: 82% of respondents did not receive a follow-up visit and assessment at home and almost one in five of these reported an unmet care needs; some people felt their discharge was rushed, with around one in five feeling unprepared to leave hospital; over a third of people were not given a contact who they could get in touch with for further advice after discharge; overall patients and families were very positive about healthcare staff, praising their efforts during such a difficult time; around a third of people faced an issue with delayed COVID-19 test results. The research indicates the discharge to assess model could be beneficial for patients and staff if properly resourced and implemented. However, the high proportion of people who did not receive information about the changed process or an assessment from a health professional reveals that the approach set out in the policy remains in many places an ambition, rather than a reality. In the medium term this model also needs embedding within broader health and social care reforms.

Last updated on hub: 29 October 2020

8 minutes and 46 seconds of ‘I Can’t Breathe’: a call for anti-racist feminist solidarity amid COVID-19

International Social Work

COVID-19 has again exposed the inequality and injustice of race and power deeply rooted in patterns, discourses and institutions. I am writing this article to bring attention to how we need anti-racist feminism now even more than ever. Feminism in social work offers an act of engagement, realization, application and praxis of ideas that challenges the normative response to rethink marginalized and oppressed individuals’ suppressed thoughts, voices and lived realities amid the pandemic lockdown. This inclusive article recognizes and acknowledges that the stories, ideas, experiences, vision, and life of every individual matters.

Last updated on hub: 25 March 2021

A balanced approach to decision-making in supporting people with IDD in extraordinarily challenging times

Research in Developmental Disabilities

A balanced approach to decision-making during challenging times is necessary in order to avoid risks that jeopardize the lives and wellbeing of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The COVID-19 pandemic is the recent example of a crisis that places people with IDD at risk for lopsided societal reactions and threats to them or their wellbeing. Attention to decision-making is required to safeguard hard-earned achievements, including public policies and organization practices that emphasize human and legal rights, self-advocacy, individualized supports, inclusive environments, choices, and community inclusion. This paper suggests maintaining a holistic approach to understanding the lives and human functioning of people with IDD, a balanced approach to accountability and performance management, an understanding of the multidimensional properties of context, and a heightened vigilance in professional responsibility. A balanced approach will strengthen the likelihood of a return to high quality services and supports to people after the crisis, reduce loss of critical progress, and enhance stability across future social, political, and financial changes and challenges.

Last updated on hub: 13 November 2020

A capptive snapshot of life under Covid

Prison Service Journal

CAPPTIVE - the Covid Action Prison Project: Tracking Innovation, Valuing Experience - is a project by the Prison Reform Trust (PRT) and PRT’s Prisoner Policy Network, The paper aims to describe life in prison under the pandemic. The project was launched with an appeal in Inside Time and Converse asking people to write to PRT, describing how their prison was managing under Covid-19. The authors received input from over 200 prisoners, drawing on experiences in 85 prison establishments. CAPPTIVE did not gather evidence systematically - it is not ‘research’ per se, but a method intended to provide a snapshot of prison life during the pandemic, primarily from the perspective of serving prisoners. The feedback covered the period between the end of March and the beginning of September 2020 - in other words, the time during which prisons were operating under the most restrictive regime. Key themes discussed in the paper include: regimes and wellbeing; the 23 hour bang-up; initial anxieties; effects of social isolation and inactivity; trust and remedies.

Last updated on hub: 19 April 2021

A care-led recovery from Coronavirus: the case for investment in care as a better post-pandemic economic stimulus than investment in construction

Women’s Budget Group

This briefing sets out why much-needed investment in care would promote employment, reduce the gender employment gap and would be a first step in building a resilient, sustainable and more equal economy. It argues that the Covid-19 pandemic has catalysed a revaluation of care, health and employment structures, exposing pre-existing problems, creating an opportunity for transformative change and an economic stimulus that focuses on care. The report finds that investment in care has the potential to mitigate the worst employment effects of the Coronavirus recession. Specifically, investing in care would creates 2.7 times as many jobs as the same investment in construction – 6.3 as many for women and 10% more for men; increasing the numbers working in care to 10% of the employed population, as in Sweden and Denmark, and giving all care workers a pay rise to the real living wage would create 2 million jobs, increasing overall employment rates by 5% points and decreasing the gender employment gap by 4% points; 50% more can be recouped by the Treasury in direct and indirect tax revenue from investment in care than in construction; and investment in care is greener than in construction, producing 30% less greenhouse gas emissions – a care-led recovery is a green led recovery.

Last updated on hub: 30 September 2020

A catalyst for change: what COVID-19 has taught us about the future of local government

Nesta

This paper draws together insights from the experiences of local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland during the first six months of the COVID-19 crisis, providing an overview of their response, and of the changes needed to meet the demands of the pandemic. It discusses the upcoming challenges that could hamper the efforts of councils to embed and build upon these positive changes and set a positive vision for the future of local government in the aftermath of this crisis. This vision illustrates what local government could look like in ten years if it is able to preserve and build upon the progress made during the pandemic. The paper identifies several trends that are of particular significance to local government over the coming years: remote working will be retained by a large proportion of staff, including frontline staff; digital tools will enable a large proportion of council-run services to be delivered remotely; increased and enhanced public participation and engagement will lead to improved decision-making and better outcomes for communities; sharing power with local communities across design, delivery and ownership of services and assets will enhance their quality and produce wider benefits to communities in the form of empowerment, resilience and cohesion; greater and new types of collaboration between councils, statutory partners, the third and private sectors and communities will achieve better outcomes for their people and places; and greater devolution from central government will provide local areas with longer-term funding commitments and greater flexibility to design policy for their local context. This guide is part of the New Operating Models Handbook, a set of learning products which explore the new operating models emerging in local government, supporting innovation and asset-based practice.

Last updated on hub: 07 October 2020

A child-centred recovery

Local Government Association

This document outlines ambitions for a child-centred post-Covid recovery, drawing together every aspect of policy and service delivery to create the places people want to live in and plan for the future. It outlines the immediate challenges as a result of the pandemic and what we need to do to tackle them; consider how councils and the Government can implement more child-centred approaches to policy and decision-making, to make sure that children are at the heart; and looks at the challenges we face in the longer-term to deliver the great places to grow up that children need and deserve. The report identifies three immediate priorities: a cross-Whitehall strategy that puts children and young people at the heart of recovery; investment in local safety nets and the universal and early help services, including mental health and wellbeing services, that children, young people and their families will need to support them through the short and long-term impacts of the pandemic; dedicated action to prevent the attainment gap from widening, including immediate work to stabilise the early years sector and support children and young people to attend school or to continue learning from home where required. The report argues that a child-centred recovery is about far more than services directly responsible for children and young people. Children deserve to grow up in good quality, stable homes, in safe areas offering positive long-term opportunities, with good access to the services they need.

Last updated on hub: 27 October 2020

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