COVID-19 resources on Safeguarding Children

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Safeguarding: remote and blended learning: challenges and approaches

Education and Training Inspectorate

This paper identifies the key safeguarding challenges faced by schools and educational and training organisations during the period of educational closures due to COVID-19 and how these have been approached across all phases of education and training. Challenges include: the impact of the absence of day-to-day contact with more vulnerable children and young people; the reported increase in domestic abuse cases during COVID-19; a need to have updated policies reflecting a change to e-learning practices; concerns regarding the use of online remote learning platforms or communication methods; the high numbers of apprentices who have lost their jobs or been furloughed; most European Social Fund (ESF) projects lacking the IT infrastructure for remote learning and on-line support for their participants. The paper sets out a range of examples from each phase detailing how specific organisations have responded and the approaches they have put in place.

Last updated on hub: 20 July 2020

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

Social Work England and PCFSW best practice guide for assessing online risks, harm and resilience and safeguarding of children and young people online

Principal Children and Families Social Worker Network

A practice guide to help support social workers to think about and assess online risks, harm and resilience and safeguarding children and young people online. The guide is aimed at social work and social care practitioners and managers, as well as qualifying social work students. It includes a framework for assessing online risks, harm and resilience; a framework for the holistic assessment of children and families; and a practice tool that can be used with young people and their families for assessing online risks and resilience. The guide has been developed by Social Work England and the Principal Children and Families Social Worker (PCFSW) network in consultation with practitioners, managers and the PCFSW reference group. Version last updated: 26 May 2020.

Last updated on hub: 09 June 2020

Social work in a pandemic: a Department for Education Partners in Practice report

Essex County Council

This review exercise captures learning about how local authority children’s services delivered safe and effective social work, and innovated to improve services, during a pandemic. It draws on three components: a peer review, conducted by partnered local authorities, exploring practitioner and organisational experiences, including the steps taken to deliver a safe and effective service for children and key learning for the future; participatory research conducted by researchers from Anglia Ruskin University with social workers from participating local authorities and two groups of young people (care leavers and young people with disabilities); a national learning conference, in which steps were taken to consider how learning from all aspect of the project could be best applied in the future. The report highlights outstanding and innovative practice, sound arrangements for delivering core services, and challenges encountered by partner local authorities. The findings are presented thematically, reflecting the key lines of enquiry developed collaboratively by partner local authorities: practice and management of practice; leadership; property occupancy; working from home; technology; workforce wellbeing; diversity; voice of the CYP; partnership working; court work.

Last updated on hub: 22 March 2022

Supporting ‘off-radar’ children and young people who are at risk of violence/abuse in their household: Part 1 (interim report)

Survivors’ Voices

This survivor-led report contains relevant possible actions to support children who are 'off-radar' (unknown to any statutory services) during and post pandemic 'lockdown' periods. It provides an initial collation and thematic analysis of the results of a survivor-led and rapid-response survey. This was targeted at people who had experience of being abused as children whilst unknown to safeguarding or support services, in order to capture the wisdom of lived experience regarding what practical actions may help reach this population. Actions and recommendations cover a range of topics and thematic areas, which are grouped into the settings to which they apply. These include: schools, nurseries, and childcare; other statutory services; youth organisations and other voluntary agencies and services that work with young people; government and national and international agencies; communities and families. The report suggests that the overwhelming consensus is that there is a need for a major awareness-raising and information campaign using TV/media and a variety of social and other media; and to develop ways to ensure children and young people can communicate with those who can help, including apps, a free phone helpline and web-based links.

Last updated on hub: 17 June 2020

Supporting care-experienced children and young people during the Covid-19 crisis and its aftermath

British Psychological Society

This advice is intended for foster and kinship carers, adoptive parents, and professionals who work with care-experienced children in schools, residential care homes and other settings across the United Kingdom. The term ‘care-experienced’ is used with reference to all looked after and adopted children and those in kinship or residential care. The guidance has a focus on thinking about care-experienced children and young people particularly in relation to education during the Covid-19 pandemic. It covers self-care; support in feeling safe; stay connected; making the most of opportunities; and supporting transitions.

Last updated on hub: 16 June 2020

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

The impact of COVID-19 on child criminal exploitation

Research briefing focusing on the early impact of COVID-19 on child criminal exploitation. Informed by interviews with professionals, including law enforcement and local authorities. Initial findings indicate that restrictions introduced in response to COVID-19 have forced adaptations in the methods used by County Lines drug supply networks and have impacted upon the ways in which frontline professionals work to detect and effectively safeguard children and young people. Recommendations include: practitioners should endeavour to maintain face-to-face contact with young people where appropriate, enabling a safe environment for disclosures and for assessing risk; public and third sector organisations should continue to use media to raise awareness amongst the public; multi-agency stakeholders should continue to build on remote working and online meetings to develop the cohesion of local responses.

Last updated on hub: 03 September 2021

The impact of COVID19 on child criminal exploitation: interim research briefing

University of Nottingham

Through an analysis of primary interviews and a review of published sources this project aims to unpack the contours of risk related to the exploitation of young people in County Lines drug supply during the pandemic. The interviewees (N=13) were drawn from law enforcement, local authorities and a care-providing NGO, across a variety of geographic counties in England. Participants were asked to reflect on their personal experiences of working during the pandemic, its effect on the risk to service clients and observed impacts on activity related to the County Lines drug supply model. COVID-19 restrictions hamper the ability of frontline agencies to risk-assess child exploitation, and exacerbate the potential for County Lines related exploitation and harm to remain hidden. Ongoing concerns include: safeguarding capacity; evolving County Lines supply methods, including increased levels of cuckooing with young people remaining in traphouses for longer, greater use of local children involved in transporting drugs, perpetrators claiming to have COVID19 in order to avoid being stopped, questioned and arrested, and use of supermarket carparks to co-locate with customer shopping routines; and the implications for children and young people – heightened risk of exploitation due to greater social media and internet use; feelings of isolation, and greater substance misuse among children residing away from family members.

Last updated on hub: 13 January 2021

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on child welfare: schools

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

This briefing uses insight from NSPCC Childline counselling sessions and message boards to highlight children and young people’s experiences of being away from and returning to school during the coronavirus pandemic. Key themes include: learning during lockdown; attending school during lockdown; transitioning back to school; COVID secure measures in school; being sent home to self-isolate; bullying; and support and safety. During the first lockdown children and young people contacted Childline to talk about how they missed being in school, missed seeing their friends and teachers, struggled with being out of their normal routine and were worried about getting behind with their school work. As children returned to school, some young people talked about their challenges with the transition and the new COVID control measures. Some young people said that they see school as a safe and supportive place but were finding it difficult because they didn’t have the same support as they’d had before lockdown.

Last updated on hub: 11 January 2021

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