3. How you will continue to work with children and families
Children are now more vulnerable than before because there are fewer opportunities for the adults in their lives to spot identify and respond to child protection concerns and issues.
Consider which of the children and young people you work with may need additional support at this time, and how you can provide this. You should also think about any new risks that young people may be particularly exposed to as the pandemic continues.
Your policies and procedures need to explain how your staff and volunteers should:
- maintain contact with children while observing coronavirus restrictions and social distancing guidelines
- recognise and raise concerns about children’s welfare
- make sure children have someone to talk to if they’re worried about anything.
> Find out more about the child protection measures schools should put in place
> Read our briefing for social work practitioners for more information about how agencies are expected to support children during the pandemic
Recognising when families need support
Changes to ways of working, such as contacting children and families on the phone and by video calling, may bring new information to light about their home situation. Families may also experience new challenges during the pandemic, for example income loss, mental health problems, family conflict and difficulty getting food.
Make sure your staff and volunteers know what to do if they are concerned that a child, young person or their family are struggling to cope.
Set out how to liaise with multi-agency partners during the pandemic to ensure families have the support they need. This could include referrals to the local early help service, children’s social care, community food banks, mental health support or other relevant services.
> Read our coronavirus briefing for children’s social work practitioners for more information
> Share our safeguarding advice and information for parents during the coronavirus pandemic
Responding to non-attendance
Outline how staff and volunteers should check on a child’s welfare if they don’t arrive at school or attend an appointment (physically, by phone or online). This should include following up with parents, carers, the local authority and/or children’s social care as appropriate.
> Read our coronavirus briefing for schools to find out more about government guidance on non-attendance