Calderdale Safeguarding Children Partnership Update: Safeguarding Services for Children – COVID 19

Important information from the Partnership detailing changes to safeguarding services supporting children and families during COVID 19:

Children’s social care – the multi-agency screening team (MAST) is running as normal from Princess Buildings with back up social workers at home. All vulnerable children in need, on a child protection plan, in care, young carers and those with an EHC plan have been offered a school place.  The Government have said that all Free School Meals will continue either on site, or delivered by schools to families, or through supermarket vouchers.  Detail here for education and social care: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people

Independent Reviewing Service – staff are working from home with full IT access and therefore the way we conduct meetings etc. will be changed.  We will continue to offer a service and recognise in that in the current circumstances there is a clear need for us to maintain an overview of  the arrangements for vulnerable children.

Child Protection plans are a key element of the safety planning for these children. Review of the plan is more  important  than ‘meeting’ itself.

The changes are as follows:

a)      Children Looked After reviews – we will arrange to hold these remotely by WhyPay and phone as appropriate.  For the IROs it is important that we check with children where possible that they are spoken to privately and preferably if we can see them. We will use the reports to guide us with this.  As part of the review we are asking IROs to check on placement resilience arrangements  that will impact on the child.

b)     Initial CP conferences – we are looking meeting by meeting at how we can run these effectively using the remote facilities at our disposal.  We are asking our Business Support staff to get in touch with people prior to meetings to obtain contact numbers for remote conferencing and to  ensure that if they don’t attend they are available for the course of the  meeting so that the CP plan can be discussed with them directly. The CP plan becomes ever more important when so many services will be compromised.

c)      CP Reviews – these will be also be held remotely. Arrangements along the lines as for ICPCs with conference calling or phone availability in place.

d)     The team will be holding daily telephone meetings with staff to review how the new arrangements are working and share solutions.

Children Looked After Health Service:  Children’s Looked After Health Reviews: Both Initial and Review health assessments with be undertaken remotely with it being recorded on the record and a log kept of all those undertaken this way. Any CYP identified as having COVID – 19 symptoms will be advised as appropriate to the symptoms. Once this present situation returns to normal those CYP who have undergone an Initial assessment in this way  will have a further evaluation conducted by the CLA Health team. If it is identified then that there is a need for them to be offered an appointment for a full face to face assessment they will be. If not this decision will be conveyed in writing to the child’s social worker and they will have their next Review health assessments as per normal schedule.

Regulation 44 visits to children’s residential homes/Fostering reviews  –  we will use similar arrangements as for Children Looked After reviews. It is possible that new national guidance may  be issued in relation to this requirement.

LADO – this service will continue to operate as before with allegations meetings being held remotely.

Education – a number of schools, nurseries, childminders and other registered childcare settings are open for vulnerable children and children of ‘key workers’.  Calderdale College is partially open.  Guidance link here that gives a lot more detail of who a keyworker is: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision.  We are currently recommending schools undertake TWICE weekly telephone /text  etc contact with vulnerable families and then update the allocated SW.

Early years providers including childminders – the Government confirmed that they will continue to fund early years entitlements for 2, 3 & 4 year-olds during any period of nursery, preschool or childminder closures, or where children cannot attend, due to coronavirus. This will include those that close due to staff illness.

Youth services – all open access youth work in buildings ceased on Monday 23rd March. Staff are no longer in youth centres but have a vital role to make sure that young people understand the need to stay at home and not congregate in groups.  They are working with the Police and Community Wardens.

National Probation Service – has now entered into the exceptional delivery model: The Halifax NPS office at 173a Springhall Lane, Halifax, HX1 4JG will now only be open on Wednesdays from 9:30 – 15:30 until notified of otherwise.

If you require any further detail about the services outlined above please contact the services directly or julia.caldwell@calderdale.gov.uk.  We recognise that further updates may be needed in response to changes; if you have updates or important information you wish to circulate to partners please forward to us, we can update, collate and try to ensure all are informed.  Thank you. 

Other advice / guidance from the Calderdale Safeguarding Children Partnership:

The Lullaby Trust has put together some guidance for COVID-19 in pregnancy or parents with young children, here:  https://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/safer-sleep-advice/coronavirus-and-caring-for-your-baby/

Trading Standards has reported unscrupulous criminals who are exploiting fears about COVID-19 on members of the public.  This is particularly older and more vulnerable groups, however recently news broke of a young woman who had been targeted.  Their website offers some advice:  https://www.nationaltradingstandards.uk/news/beware-of-covid19-scams/

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