COVID-19 resources on Safeguarding Children

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Coronavirus briefing: safeguarding guidance and information 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. [Updated 8 January 2021]

Last updated on hub: 16 June 2020

Coronavirus briefing: safeguarding guidance for early years

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

This briefing summarises government guidance on safeguarding and child protection for early years settings during the COVID-19 pandemic in the four UK nations. Topics covered include: early years provision; regulations; safeguarding and child protection; staffing and recruitment; and child welfare. The briefing answers frequently asked questions including: whether nurseries, preschools and registered childminders should still be providing childcare; whether nannies, au pairs and babysitters can still provide childcare; what to do if a child’s usual registered or regulated childcare provider is closed; whether there have been changes to early years childcare standards during the coronavirus pandemic; and how childcare settings can support and protect children who are not attending. [Update 22 February 2021]

Last updated on hub: 29 June 2020

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

COVID 19: safe and rapid recruitment

Skills for Care

Brings together guidance to support safe and rapid recruitment of social care staff during the COVID-19 pandemic and signposts to relevant resources. In these unprecedented times, it is important that the safety and wellbeing of people using care services remains a priority. The guiding principles set out in the guidance are intended to address the additional workforce recruitment challenges that employers of all sizes face. They cover: value-based recruitment; recruiting from the local community; robust employment checks; training, sustaining and retaining; and distance recruitment and virtual interviewing.

Last updated on hub: 29 June 2020

COVID on three continents: how local children’s organisations in Africa, Europe and South America are adapting to the coronavirus challenge

Journal of Children's Services

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to share anecdotally how the pandemic is affecting children, families and some of the frontline local services that support them across three continents. Design/methodology/approach: Three members of Family for Every Child across three continents detail some of the day-to-day challenges they are facing in their work with children and families as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Findings: Social distancing and fear of the virus are hampering front line organisations in Africa, Europe and South America, bringing additional challenges to keeping children safe. Originality/value: These three case studies give a snapshot of the issues faced by three non-governmental children’s organisations over three continents during July 2020.

Last updated on hub: 30 December 2020

COVID-19 Covid response - an evidence review of new practice: interim report

What Works for Children's Social Care

Rapid review report of “what works” in relation to adapting children's social care services during the Covid-19 pandemic. The review asked: What challenges have children’s services experienced during Covid-19? and How have children’s services changed their practice in response to Covid-19? Method: 32 semi-structured qualitative interviews with practitioners between March and May 2020; a review of the literature on virtual and digital delivery of services; information gathered from social worker polls; and conversations and webinars with leaders. Key challenges identified were in relation to: safeguarding children from afar; supporting vulnerable children to have an education; and sudden and unpredictable shocks to the social work workforce. Key practice changes identified were: changes in relationships; a shift to blended approach to face-to-face and virtual working; working with multi-agency partners to safeguard children.

Last updated on hub: 01 December 2021

Covid-19, vulnerability and the safeguarding of criminally exploited children

University of Nottingham

This is the third briefing from research investigating the impacts of Covid-19 on child criminal exploitation and county lines. The focus of this briefing is on identifying trends that professionals have witnessed more recently, and as a result of longer-term lockdown measures. Thirteen interviews were undertaken with practitioners working in care and safeguarding roles in both statutory and non-statutory organisations, and a security manager of a leading car rental company. These were supplemented by 29 interviews with practitioners from law enforcement, local authorities and NGO’s which were conducted during the first two quarters of the project. Participants were asked to reflect on their personal experiences of working during the pandemic, its effect on their ability to safeguard young people criminally exploited through county lines, and wider impacts they observed related to the county lines model. As the UK transitions out of lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, this study highlights ongoing concerns, which include: reduced identification of exploitation – diminished face-to-face contact between youth workers and children continues to challenge professionals’ ability to identify signs of exploitation and there is concern that many children remain in dangerous and exploitative situations both within and away from their homes; online exploitation and grooming – as young people continue to spend more time online and on social media platforms, there is an increased risk of online grooming for both criminal and sexual exploitation; vulnerability – the overall level of county lines activity was mostly unchanged during the pandemic, and the widespread exploitation of children persisted. Mental health has deteriorated among already vulnerable children and there are indications that substance misuse and self-harm are on the rise.

Last updated on hub: 21 June 2021

COVID-19: children, young people and families: December 2020 evidence summary

Scottish Government

This briefing is the fifth in a series of evidence summaries on the impact of COVID19 on the wellbeing of children and families in Scotland, drawing on wider UK and international research where appropriate. The emerging picture on the reopening of schools/childcare in Scotland appears to be a positive one for many children and families. There are some signs of recovery with indicative evidence of improvements in children’s emotional wellbeing, loneliness and peer and family relationships, particularly for younger age groups. However, emerging evidence on child mental wellbeing in Scotland shows that for some children, particularly for older children and young people, significant issues remain. A recurring theme is the need for more ‘recovery’ support e.g. in schools and childcare settings, particularly for child mental wellbeing. Whilst most Scottish evidence suggests a general level of satisfaction with the safe reopening of schools/childcare, there is a feeling from some young people that more could be done to enforce or increase safety measures in schools. Although social media is generally perceived by young people to be a positive means of keeping in touch with friends, there continues to be emerging evidence around increased levels of online bullying during the national lockdown. There continues to be evidence of the strain placed on parents by the pandemic and the impact that this can have on parenting and child wellbeing but there is also evidence of positive impacts of the pandemic on family relationships. In addition, the paper outlines a number of findings from Scotland and the UK about how different sub-groups of young people are experiencing the return to school/college/work, as well as new evidence on their experiences during the pandemic more generally.

Last updated on hub: 12 January 2021

COVID-19: pre-employment vetting guidance health and social care providers

Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Northern Ireland

This guidance explains temporary changes to pre-employment vetting policy for health and social care roles during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, to make it quicker for employers to do this so that new or temporary staff and volunteers can be put in place at short notice.

Last updated on hub: 28 April 2020

Data-informed recommendations for services providers working with vulnerable children and families during the COVID-19 pandemic

Child Abuse and Neglect

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic and associated response measures have led to unprecedented challenges for service providers working with vulnerable children and families around the world. Objective: The goal of the present study was to better understand the impact of the pandemic and associated response measures on vulnerable children and families and provide data-informed recommendations for public and private service providers working with this population. Participants and Setting: Representatives from 87 non-government organizations (NGOs) providing a variety of direct services (i.e. residential care, family preservation, foster care, etc.) to 454,637 vulnerable children and families in 43 countries completed a brief online survey. Methods: Using a mixed methods design, results examined 1) ways in which children and families have been directly impacted by COVID-19, 2) the impact of the pandemic on services provided by NGOs, 3) government responses and gaps in services for this population during the pandemic, and 4) strategies that have been effective in filling these gaps. Results: Data revealed that the pandemic and restrictive measures were associated with increased risk factors for vulnerable children and families, including not having access to vital services. The NGOs experienced government restrictions, decreased financial support, and inability to adequately provide services. Increased communication and supportive activities had a positive impact on both NGO staff and the families they serve. Conclusions: Based on the findings, ten recommendations were made for service providers working with vulnerable children and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 21 January 2021

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