COVID-19 resources on Safeguarding Children

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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. Note, from the 1 October 2021. The flexibilities in the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus)(Amendment) Regulations 2020 will no longer be available. This guidance was amended in early October 2021 to reflect the new guidance that is is valid from 1 October 2021. This guidance was further amended on 10 December 2021 to reflect the introduction of ‘Plan B’ for England prioritising measures which can help control transmission of COVID-19, while seeking to minimise economic and social impacts – in line with the government’s formal COVID-19 Response: Autumn and Winter Plan 2021. This guidance was further updated on 15 December 2021 to reflect that daily testing is now recommended for contacts of COVID-19; on 6 January 2022 in relation to new guidance about confirmatory PCR tests; and on 20 January 2022 to reflect the removal of Plan B restrictions. [First published 3 April 2020. Last updated 25 February 2022].

Last updated on hub: 06 April 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19): safeguarding in schools, colleges and other providers

Department for Education

Interim guidance for schools and colleges to support them keeping children safe, including online, during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It includes information on the role of the local authorities, child protection policy, the role of Designated safeguarding leads, mental health, online safety and safeguarding vulnerable children during the COVID-19 period. This interim safeguarding guidance is under review and will be updated. [Published 27/03/20. Last updated 20/05/2020].

Last updated on hub: 08 April 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19): support for parents and carers to keep children safe online

Home Office

Advice and guidance to help parents and carers to keep children safe online during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. As a result of the measures introduced during the lockdown, children are likely to be spending more time online. Whilst there are benefits to being online in order to stay connected to family and friends during this period, this guidance recognises many parents may feel concerned about the activities and content their children are accessing. It signposts to organisations, programmes, advice and resources covering: child sexual abuse; radicalising content; sexting (youth-produced sexual imagery); cyberbullying; age-inappropriate content and parental controls; apps to help children stay safe online; suicide content; and support for children. [Published 14 April 2020. Last updated 11 February 2021]

Last updated on hub: 02 July 2020

Coronavirus and me

Children's Commissioner for Wales

Sets out initial findings of a consultation on the experiences of children and young people in Wales in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. The consultation captured information about the lives of over 23,700 children between the ages of 3-18 and run for a two-week period during lockdown. It focuses on children’s mental health and wellbeing, their ability to access to support, their education and learning, and their ability to play. The data shows that more than a third of children worried about Coronavirus, having concerns about how long the situation would last and fears that they or their loved ones might catch it. The majority report that they know where to get help for their mental and wellbeing needs but only 39 per cent feel confident seeking school counselling at the current time.

Last updated on hub: 25 June 2020

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

Coronavirus briefing: guidance for social workers

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. [Published 22 May 2020. Updated 4 January 2021]

Last updated on hub: 27 May 2020

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