Comment: Covid-19 and vulnerable children

Commenting on a Newsnight feature on Covid-19 and vulnerable children, Rachel Dickinson, ADCS Immediate Past President, said:

“All councils will be dealing with the outbreak of Covid-19 by prioritising the needs of the most vulnerable. That said, this pandemic is shining a light, and in some cases exacerbating, existing fragilities in the system, such as a shortage of placement options for children in our care and longstanding challenges to recruit and retain enough social workers across the country. Our teams are working round the clock to ensure children and young people are safe and provided for but there are some very significant and practical challenges we’re working hard to overcome. Covid-19 is affecting every area of service, every team and every community. As social workers, and other key staff fall ill, or need to self-isolate, local authorities will redeploy existing qualified staff where possible and where it’s safe to do so, prioritising face to face work with children most at risk. The new Coronavirus Act contains provisions to make it easier for returners to take up social work roles and other key partners and agencies, such as Ofsted, are offering us access to their staff too.

“Of course, it is very worrying to hear that in some situations children are struggling to contact their social workers or afford basic necessities like food, this is not what we want to see. It’s vital that the needs of vulnerable children and families, including children in and on the edge of care, care leavers as well as families living in poverty continue to be met and that they are safe and provided for during the outbreak, all of those things are being worked through locally as fast as possible. The Association continues to log issues raised by our members in relation to Covid-19 and feed them into our regular discussions with the UK government to ensure that the needs and rights of children, young people and families remain high on the national agenda.”


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