Comment: Covid-19 and safeguarding
Jenny Coles, ADCS President, said:
“Covid-19 is impacting on all of us, every family, every community and every public service. Local authorities have a central role in protecting our most vulnerable children and families so we are paying particular attention to how the outbreak is affecting them and working tirelessly to ensure they are safe and provided for.
“While some schools and other education settings may be closed, others remain open to our most vulnerable pupils and for this we are grateful but clearly it is concerning if the number of vulnerable pupils attending schools is lower than hoped for. Beyond education, schools provide a vital safety net for our most vulnerable learners and have a key role in identifying safeguarding concerns early. Local authorities are committed to increasing the number of vulnerable children attending school, social workers are in touch with vulnerable families directly and via their schools to encourage children to attend school where they are eligible and we hope to see numbers increase with time.
“Local authorities are prioritising face to face contact with those most at risk but we are aware that usual routes of safeguarding referrals are affected by the current lockdown. Locally systems are in place to ensure children are protected but now more than ever it’s important that communities and neighbours are looking out for each other where possible, and if a family needs some additional help in these unprecedented times, contact should be made with the local authority as soon as possible so this can be arranged.
“As ADCS, we are involved in daily discussions with the government to help find sensible practicable solutions to the challenges our members face, keeping children’s best interests centre stage.”