COVID-19 resources on Safeguarding Children

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"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

An introduction to DBS checks in the social care sector

Skills for Care

This webinar – delivered by DBS – aims to improve confidence and understanding of using the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) eligibility toolkit, the COVID-19 barred list fast track and free of charge checks and making a barring referral.

Last updated on hub: 29 June 2020

Beyond the pandemic: strategic priorities for responding to childhood trauma: a coronavirus pandemic policy briefing

UK Trauma Council

This policy briefing focuses on the psychological consequences of trauma experienced by children – including younger children such as infants – as well as older adolescents. The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on children and young people’s lives. The report identifies three ways in which the pandemic is impacting on the experience of childhood trauma: it increases the risk that more children will be exposed to trauma, including through sudden bereavement or exposure to domestic violence; it increases the likelihood that those with prior experiences of trauma (for example, because of abuse) will experience significant difficulties; and it compromises the ability of adults and professional systems to identify a struggling child and mitigate the impact of trauma, including mental health problems. The report puts forward four recommendations as a framework for action, to be taken forward in different ways across the UK. These are: prioritise responding to trauma in national and local strategies; invest in specialist trauma provision for children and young people; equip all professionals who work with children and young people with the skills and capacity to support those who have experienced trauma; and shift models of help towards prevention, through research, clinical innovation and training.

Last updated on hub: 24 September 2020

Building a country that works for all children post COVID-19

The Association of Directors of Children's Services

This discussion paper looks at the impacts of Covid-19 on children and their families. Its purpose is three-fold: to put children, young people and their lived experiences of the pandemic front and centre in national recovery planning; to articulate what is needed to restore the public support services they rely on; and to capture the positives and gains made during a very complex national, and indeed, global emergency. The paper reveals that the directors of children’s services in England share concerns about increased exposure of children to ‘hidden harms’ such as domestic violence and the impact of social distancing on children and young people’s development and on their mental and emotional health and wellbeing. The vulnerability of specific cohorts, including care leavers, young carers, children and young people in conflict with the law and families with no recourse to public funds, has been heightened during this period. Covid-19 has disrupted professionals’ relationships with children and families and weakened the sustainability of both the voluntary and charitable sector and the early years and childcare sector. Both families and the workforce have shown great levels of resilience, flexibility and creativity. The paper calls for a rapid review of the response to the first phase of the pandemic to improve preparedness for future waves and spikes of infection, arguing that the experiences of practitioners and of children and families must be part of this process. It also suggests that the recovery phase offers the government an opportunity to further its ‘levelling up’ agenda, and the initiation of an ambitious, world leading health inequalities strategy, making wellbeing rather than straightforward economic performance the central goal of policy.

Last updated on hub: 20 July 2020

Child safety, protection, and safeguarding in the time of COVID-19 in Great Britain: proposing a conceptual framework

Child Abuse and Neglect

Background: Great Britain has the highest coronavirus death rate in Europe. While the pandemic clearly poses a risk to the lives and wellbeing of vulnerable groups, necessary public health measures taken to delay or limit the spread of the virus have led to distinctive challenges for prevention, family support, court processes, placement and alternative care. The pandemic has also come about at a time when statutory changes to partnerships have led to a reduction in the importance of educational professional representation in the new formulation in England and Wales. Objectives: This discussion paper proposes a novel and pragmatic conceptual framework during this challenging time. Participants: This study consulted with 8 education professionals and 4 field-based student social workers. Setting: Bodies responsible for safeguarding have been working quickly to develop new approaches to fulfilling their responsibilities, for example through online home visits and case conferences. However, some communities have been highlighted as experiencing particular challenges because of the pandemic and its impacts. Protection of vulnerable children is increasingly dependent on individualised - and often pathologising - practice with a lack of emphasis on the importance of the social. Holistic consideration of the child is side-lined. Results: The framework comprises two phases: pandemic and aspirational. Conclusion: The framework illuminates the importance of interconnected sectors and multi-agency working, the need for resilient and adaptable support systems, and the need to promote the importance of children’s rights and voices to be heard above the noise of the pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 08 October 2020

Child safety, protection, and safeguarding in the time of COVID-19 in Great Britain: proposing a conceptual framework

Child Abuse and Neglect

Background: Great Britain has the highest coronavirus death rate in Europe. While the pandemic clearly poses a risk to the lives and wellbeing of vulnerable groups, necessary public health measures taken to delay or limit the spread of the virus have led to distinctive challenges for prevention, family support, court processes, placement and alternative care. The pandemic has also come about at a time when statutory changes to partnerships have led to a reduction in the importance of educational professional representation in the new formulation in England and Wales. Objectives: In this discussion paper, we propose a novel and pragmatic conceptual framework during this challenging time. Participants: We consulted with 8 education professionals and 4 field-based student social workers. Setting: Bodies responsible for safeguarding have been working quickly to develop new approaches to fulfilling their responsibilities, for example through online home visits and case conferences. However, some communities have been highlighted as experiencing particular challenges because of the pandemic and its impacts. Protection of vulnerable children is increasingly dependent on individualised - and often pathologising - practice with a lack of emphasis on the importance of the social. Holistic consideration of the child is side-lined. Results: Our framework comprises two phases: pandemic and aspirational. Conclusion: The framework illuminates the importance of interconnected sectors and multi-agency working, the need for resilient and adaptable support systems, and the need to promote the importance of children’s rights and voices to be heard above the noise of the pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 21 January 2021

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

Coronavirus (COVID-19) supplementary national violence against women guidance

Scottish Government

This supplementary guidance aims to ensure a sustainable, joined-up approach to safeguarding the needs of women, children and young people experiencing VAWG during COVID-19 is embedded at a local strategic level. The guide aims to ensure local decision-makers are aware of the suite of COVID-19 guidance that has been developed nationally and that may be relevant to supporting women, children and young people affected by VAWG, and to tackling perpetrators of that abuse; highlight risks to women, children and young people affected by VAWG in the short term (during periods of lockdown and other social restrictions), medium term (as restrictions are lifted and we move towards recovery), and long term (as partners transition to a ‘new normal’); and support local decision-makers to identify short-, medium- and long-terms actions to mitigate risks as a result of COVID-19 and begin to support early planning for the post-pandemic period in order to ensure recovery needs are recognised and addressed at a strategic level.

Last updated on hub: 13 July 2020

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

Department for Education

Advice about coronavirus (COVID-19) for local authorities to help support and protect vulnerable children. It includes answers to frequently asked questions in the areas of: Alternative provision, Children's safeguarding, Children's residential care, Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, Care leavers, Foster care, Adoption, and social workers in children's social care. The guidance is for local authorities, those who have corporate parenting responsibilities, and local safeguarding partnerships who work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in their area. It will also be of interest to social workers, residential care providers and those with safeguarding responsibilities. [Last updated 23 April 2021].

Last updated on hub: 06 April 2020

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