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

A new and better normal: children and young people’s experiences of the Covid 19 pandemic: main report

Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People

This report provides a comprehensive assessment of the impact of the government response to the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of children and young people across Northern Ireland. Data were collected through surveys and focus groups with a total of 4,385 young people's views considered during the research. 74 young people participated in 11 focus groups and provided four written submissions. There was a focus on including vulnerable groups including children in care, children with disabilities, and children at risk of domestic violence and/or abuse. Key themes covered in the analysis include: poverty, physical and mental health; education; play, leisure, and social engagement; family life and alternative care; safeguarding; access to information and participation and youth justice. The report also includes an analysis of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) assessment of Governments’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic to date against the 11 recommendations from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. The report makes several recommendations under each of the key themes and concludes that the inequalities present in our society, the vulnerabilities associated with disabilities, physical or mental ill health, and fault lines that existed in socio-economic differences and family circumstances amongst others, have been greatly exacerbated during the pandemic. This has led to further widening of gaps in exposing the uneven impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic responses on children and young people.

Last updated on hub: 07 September 2021

A new and better normal: children and young people’s experiences of the Covid 19 pandemic: summary report

Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People

This summary report reports the findings of a comprehensive assessment of the impact of the government response to the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of children and young people across Northern Ireland. Data were collected through surveys and focus groups with a total of 4,385 young people's views considered during the research. 74 young people participated in 11 focus groups and provided four written submissions. There was a focus on including vulnerable groups including children in care, children with disabilities, and children at risk of domestic violence and/or abuse. The summary report focuses on an analysis of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) assessment of Governments’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic to date against the 11 recommendations from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. The report also summarises the recommendations detailed in the full report and concludes that the inequalities present in our society, the vulnerabilities associated with disabilities, physical or mental ill health, and fault lines that existed in socio-economic differences and family circumstances amongst others, have been greatly exacerbated during the pandemic. This has led to further widening of gaps in exposing the uneven impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic responses on children and young people.

Last updated on hub: 07 September 2021

A summary of the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel: annual report 2020

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

A summary of key messages from the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel’s annual report looking at rapid reviews, local child safeguarding practice reviews and serious case reviews in England during 2020. This is the Panel’s second annual report highlighting the key messages from a range of sources including: serious incident notifications; rapid reviews for each notification; local child safeguarding practice reviews; and serious case reviews. The Panel received 482 serious incident notifications between 1 January and 31 December 2020, relating to 514 children. 206 fatal incidents were reported to the Panel, of which 17% were caused by maltreatment within the family; 10% were related to, but not directly caused by maltreatment; and 8% were extra-familial assaults or homicide. The report also looks at the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on child safeguarding in 2020. Serious incident notifications to the Panel in the period April to September 2020 were 27% higher than the same period in 2019.

Last updated on hub: 28 June 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 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

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 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

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