COVID-19 resources on Safeguarding Children

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Voices during the Covid-19 pandemic: the impact on children, young people and child helplines around the world

Child Helpline International

This report aims to understand the impact the pandemic has had, not only on the children and young people who contact child helplines, but also on the child helplines’ operations. We undertook four quarterly surveys of the members of Child Helpline International covering the whole year (January to December 2020). This report presents our findings, the conclusions that can be drawn from these findings, and key recommendations to ensure that child helplines can continue their vital work. These special surveys revealed that, globally, our child helpline members received 25% more contacts in 2020 as compared to 2019. Violence and mental health were important reasons for contact globally in 2020, as they already were in 2019. However, in 2020 requests for information about Covid-19, and contacts relating to family relationships, access to essential services and the caller’s own physical health emerged as the other main reasons for making contact. The child helplines who participated in this research also reported that their operations had been noticeably impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. This impact related both to an increased demand from children and young people and to the various national restriction measures put in place in response to the pandemic. Most importantly, the vast majority of child helplines proved to be extremely resilient and they were able to continue their operations. 94% of the respondents indicated that they remained operational.

Last updated on hub: 09 June 2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for children's social care services

Department for Education

Advice about coronavirus (COVID-19) for local authorities and their partners to help support and protect vulnerable children. The guide covers: legislation and regulations; supporting children, including looked after children; educational settings; out-of-school settings; multiagency working; Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel; fostering; adoption residential provision; residential family centres; care leavers; unaccompanied asylum seeking children; and Ofsted inspections.

Last updated on hub: 18 May 2021

Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel: executive summary: annual report 2020

Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel

This is the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel’s second annual report, covering its work from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020. It provides analysis and refection on English safeguarding practice during the Covid-19 crisis, a period of unprecedented test and challenge for all those entrusted with safeguarding and protecting children from harm. The report sets out the Panel’s views about how effectively the system of national and local reviews is operating. It identifies six key practice themes that make a difference in reducing serious harm and preventing child deaths caused by abuse or neglect. These are: 1. Understanding what the child’s daily life is like; 2. Working with families where their engagement is reluctant and sporadic; 3. Critical thinking and challenge; 4. Responding to changing risk and need; 5. Sharing information in a timely and appropriate way; 6. Organisational leadership and culture for good outcomes. This report has three important messages. Firstly, the Panel’s analysis of practice brings into sharp relief once again the importance of using our very best resources and skills to give a real and strong voice (and influence) to children. The second core message concerns the urgency of addressing what might be described as stubborn and perennial problems in multi-agency child protection practice. Issues such as weak information sharing, communication and risk assessment have, over decades, impeded our ability to protect children and to help families. The final message is about the need to understand and evaluate robustly the impact of learning from rapid reviews as well as local and national practice reviews.

Last updated on hub: 18 May 2021

Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel: annual report 2020: patterns in practice, key messages and 2021 work programme

Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel

This is the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel’s second annual report, covering its work from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020. It provides analysis and refection on English safeguarding practice during the Covid-19 crisis, a period of unprecedented test and challenge for all those entrusted with safeguarding and protecting children from harm. The report sets out the Panel’s views about how effectively the system of national and local reviews is operating. It identifies six key practice themes that make a difference in reducing serious harm and preventing child deaths caused by abuse or neglect. These are: 1. Understanding what the child’s daily life is like; 2. Working with families where their engagement is reluctant and sporadic; 3. Critical thinking and challenge; 4. Responding to changing risk and need; 5. Sharing information in a timely and appropriate way; 6. Organisational leadership and culture for good outcomes. This report has three important messages. Firstly, the Panel’s analysis of practice brings into sharp relief once again the importance of using our very best resources and skills to give a real and strong voice (and influence) to children. The second core message concerns the urgency of addressing what might be described as stubborn and perennial problems in multi-agency child protection practice. Issues such as weak information sharing, communication and risk assessment have, over decades, impeded our ability to protect children and to help families. The final message is about the need to understand and evaluate robustly the impact of learning from rapid reviews as well as local and national practice reviews.

Last updated on hub: 18 May 2021

Coronavirus briefing: safeguarding guidance for schools

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

This briefing summarises the latest guidance for UK schools on safeguarding during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It pulls together key safeguarding guidance from all four UK nations on how to keep children safe during the pandemic. It answers frequently asked questions including: who has to go to school; how to monitor attendance; what happens if nominated child protection leads need to self-isolate or become ill; what schools should do about free school meals; and what happens with families who have contract arrangements or where parents are separated.

Last updated on hub: 02 March 2021

Coronavirus briefing: guidance for social work practitioners

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

A summary of guidance for social workers and social work practitioners who are working with children and families during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The briefing brings together key guidance from all four UK nations to answer some frequently asked questions. Areas covered include: the social work workforce, including ensuring there are sufficient social workers to support children and families; how the coronavirus is affecting the child protection system; and the impact on direct work with children and families. [First published 22 May 2020 under a different title]

Last updated on hub: 01 March 2021

Supporting children with disabilities at home during COVID-19: a resource pack for parents and caregivers

Leonard Cheshire Disability

The COVID-19 outbreak has had an impact on how people live their lives in every country around the world. In this context it is very important that the specific needs of children with disabilities are taken into account. This resource pack provides advice and guidance for parents and caregivers on how best to protect and support their children with disabilities during the COVID-19 outbreak. Topics covered include: general guidance for parents and caregivers of children with disabilities; supporting children with disabilities to learn at home during the COVID-19 outbreak; safeguarding during COVID-19; communication and access to information for persons with disabilities during COVID-19.

Last updated on hub: 17 February 2021

NetClean report: Covid-19 impact 2020: a report about child sexual abuse crime

NetClean

The first part of this report looks at how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected child sexual abuse (CSA) crime. Section two of the report looks at why businesses and organisations choose to address child sexual abuse material (CSAM) in corporate environments. Findings from a survey of 470 law enforcement officers from 39 countries who work on cases pertaining to CSA crime indicate that the fallout from the pandemic has clearly affected online CSA crime and has had an impact on offline CSA crime. The surveyed police officers reported that lockdowns, social restrictions and school closures led to both adults and children spending more time online, therefore increasing the risk of online CSA crime. Confinement to the home meant that children may have been isolated with their abuser. During school closures, children did not have access to mandatory reporters, which according to the respondents affected the number of reports of offline CSA crime. The results also suggest that online CSA activity and online reporting has increased; there has been a moderate increase in actual CSA investigations; and COVID-19 has had an effect on the capacity to investigate CSA crimes. In addition, to identify the drivers for addressing CSAM in corporate environments, interviews were conducted with sixteen employees from sixteen businesses and organisations, who work in the areas of: sustainability, ethics and compliance, it security, human resources and legal. The interviews revealed that the companies’ core drive is to act as ethical entities, and this was furthered by their statements that they consider the drive to protect and safeguard children the most crucial reason for installing software to identify CSAM on IT equipment. Other drivers for addressing CSAM in corporate environments ranged from sustainability and corporate social responsibility frameworks, policy compliance and risk assessments from a compliance perspective, to IT security risks, brand protection and human resources drivers.

Last updated on hub: 01 February 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

"Oh, this is actually okay": understanding how one state child welfare training system adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic

Child Abuse and Neglect

Background: Training for new and existing child protection system (CPS) caseworkers is critical to developing and maintaining a competent workforce that effectively works towards safety, permanency, and wellbeing outcomes for children in the system. The COVID-19 pandemic required a shift to virtual training to continue training CPS professionals safely. Objective: The purpose of our project was to determine if there were differences in learning outcomes between learners who completed training in the usual delivery methods (Pre-COVID) and the fully virtual delivery methods (Post-COVID). We also sought to understand any factors that facilitated or impeded successful virtual training during the pandemic. Participants and setting: Caseworkers-in-training completed learning and satisfaction assessments through standard continuing quality improvement efforts. Training facilitators, course developers, and leadership completed qualitative interviews. Methods: We assessed quantitative differences in one US state in learner knowledge, satisfaction, and behaviors before and during the COVID-19 pandemic and conducted a qualitative thematic analysis of interviews with training system employees. Results: Overall, there were limited differences in learner outcomes before and after the transition to virtual training delivery. Across the employee interviews, three main themes emerged: organizational culture facilitated the transition, external constraints caused challenges during the transition, and there were opportunities to evolve training practices positively. Conclusions: The shift to a virtual learning environment had little impact on learner knowledge or satisfaction. Employee perspectives indicated that the pre-COVID investment in organizational culture has substantial dividends for performance during the crisis.

Last updated on hub: 21 January 2021

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