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April/May 2020
Dear All

In this month's newsletter you will find:

  • Guidance/Information for Local Authorities on delivering children’s social care during COVID-19
  • Internet safety message from Kate Dixon, Director of School Quality and Safeguarding at the Department for Education
  • Innovation Programme Transitional Funding in 2020/21: Multi-million support for vulnerable children during COVID-19
  • The National House Project - Press Release
  • Essex County Council - Press Release
  • The Supporting Families, Investing in Practice Programme
  • Strengthening Families and Protecting Children Programme
  • NHS open for business
  • Essential workers: apply for a coronavirus test
  • The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel
  • Youth Endowment Fund (YEF)
 
  • Local practice examples sent to DfE by local areas and sector guidance  
  • Example of local practice sent to Ofsted
  • Local Practice on supporting care leavers
  • Safeguarding Partners role in ensuring all children and families get the support they need during the current pandemic and examples of local practice 
  • Bexley Statutory Safeguarding Partners - case study
  • Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) - COVID-19 and early intervention Evidence
 
  • Innovation Programme website
Guidance/Information for Local Authorities on delivering children’s social care during COVID-19

Local Authorities on delivery children’s social care
 
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Care Leaving Funding announcements
We have been working hard to ensure that care leavers are recognised as a priority group for additional support from local and central government during this period, as reflected in the Secretary of State’s announcement, above. In addition, you may be interested to see: 
 
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Access to devices/data/connectivity for disadvantaged children and young people (including care leavers) during COVID-19
  • A copy of the email to local authorities (LAs) accessing technology support for disadvantaged children and young people (including care leavers) during COVID-19, is available here
     
  • Briefing on how local authorities can access the new devices and data
Internet Safety: Message from Kate Dixon, Director of School Quality and Safeguarding at the Department for Education
There has never been a more important time to think about keeping children safe online.
Many children are engaging with their education online and in some cases, as a result of the lockdown measures, will be spending more time online socialising. The Department for Education is asking you to take the opportunity, wherever possible, to emphasise to parents and carers the importance of having online safety conversations with their children. We would also encourage you to signpost parents and carers to the following resources:

 

Innovation Programme Transitional Funding in 2020/21: Multi-million support for vulnerable children during COVID-19

On 24 April 2020 Government announced extra support to keep children at risk of neglect or abuse safe during the Coronavirus outbreak with a multi-million support package for vulnerable children during COVID-19.  Read the full announcement 
here



The National House Project
has a 
vision to help young people leaving care to create their own home and support those young people to live independently and have fulfilling lives.  Please click here to read their recent press release.


Essex County Council, in partnership with Hertfordshire and Norfolk County Councils, received an additional £1.1million from the Department for Education (DfE) to continue work to support young people in care and their families.  To find out more please click here
The Supporting Families, Investing in Practice Programme has been paused from April 2020 to allow LAs to prioritise their resources on protecting vulnerable children during the COVID19 crisis. Helping our public services to cope with the current emergency and ensuring that vulnerable children remain protected is a top priority for all of us.   
 

We value and firmly believe in the potential of the projects scaled up through the programme to keep children and families together, but we are aware that for many areas this is too challenging at this time. We expect the pause will last for four months, with a first review of this decision after two months.
Strengthening Families, Protecting Children Programme
After consulting with a number of the programme participants, the Department for Education has decided to pause the Strengthening Families, Protecting Children programme temporarily.  The programme pause will help to ensure that local authorities are able to prioritise vital resources to deliver frontline work to safeguard and promote the welfare of vulnerable children and provide continuity of care in the event that the workforce is significantly affected by COVID-19.
 
The pause will last for four months, with a first review of this decision after two months.
NHS Open for Business
Please promote the following message to parents and carers about the importance of continuing to access health services:  The NHS remains open for children and adults who are unwell or who have any worrying symptoms. If a parent or carer is worried about the health of child, the advice is: if you are worried about your child for whatever reason, contact NHS 111 or your family doctor for urgent advice, or 999 in an emergency. If a professional advises you to go to hospital, please do follow their advice and go to hospital.
Essential workers: apply for a coronavirus test
If you're an essential worker who is self-isolating (not able to leave home), you can now apply for you and your household to get tested for coronavirus (COVID-19).  To find out more click 
here
The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel

As lockdown continues, we know that safeguarding partners are working hard to protect children across the country. The Panel continues to meet remotely every two weeks to consider rapid reviews and remains agile to respond to any trends relating to child safeguarding during Covid-19.
 
Previous guidance released by the Panel has asked that the rapid review is expedited where there is a child death or serious injury in the context of abuse and neglect, and Covid-19 is a strongly related factor. Please do continue to contact the
Panel mailbox if you have any queries or questions about rapid reviews or publication of local learning reviews in these unprecedented times.
 
We are progressing the work we set out in our annual report, albeit in a slower timeframe, but we do not want to lose the focus on the lessons we can learn from serious child safeguarding incidents. This includes planning for the publication of our second national review into Sudden Unexpected Death in Infants (SUDI) this summer. Despite the overall decrease in the number of babies dying in this way, the Panel continues to see a worrying number of cases. There has been a shift towards these tragedies happening mainly in families whose circumstances put them at risk of harm, not just of SUDI, but of several other adverse outcomes. Now, more than ever, it is critical to engage families with children at risk of harem so they can embed safer sleeping advice. Therefore, our second national review on SUDI will suggest a framework for local safeguarding partners to use to strengthen their practice, as well as making national recommendations.

Karen Manners QPM,
 interim chair of the independent Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel.
 
Youth Endowment Fund (YEF)
  • Recent launch of second round of YEF.
  • £6.5m for work with sector to support vulnerable children
  • Looking for work that can be set up quickly. There are two criteria:
    •  first is to help reach and support vulnerable children at risk of youth violence, at a time when many of the services they rely on have closed or are severely restricted.
    • The second is to identify the best ways to reach and support vulnerable children under the current social distancing and stay-at-home guidelines.  
  • Organisations in England and Wales supporting children at risk of youth violence will be able to apply for funding of £25,000 and over. The funding can be used to adapt their services to digital and virtual delivery, deliver face-to-face work in schools (including activities that help vulnerable young people to return to school) or through detached youth work, whilst adhering to social distancing and stay-at-home guidelines.
  • 50% of funding reserved for charities

For more information click here

Local practice examples sent to DfE by local areas and sector guidance  
 
Over recent weeks we have seen some very innovative practice in response to this unprecedented set of circumstances. Here are some examples from local authorities that others might find interesting: 
  

  • putting school attendance on the agenda of social workers: a newly developed risk assessment form which facilitates a conversation around decisions about vulnerable children and their attendance at school 
  • a weekly newsletter to schools to raise awareness of vulnerable children 
  • checking in on those children and young people who have exited children’s services in the past 56 months
  • adjustments to case management systems to record whether physical or virtual visits are being undertaken and the basis on which the decision is made 
  • using social media to encourage young people to talk to each other and who to contact if they are worried or concerned about the welfare and safety of a friend.

 
A number of organisations have published practice guidance to help local authorities and front-line workers to protect and support children at this time. The Principal Child and Families Social Worker Network and Social Work England have published some guides on ethics, risk assessments and virtual meetings 
here.  Research in Practice has also provided access to materials about social care practice in the time of Covid 19   

Example of local practice sent to Ofsted

Some local authorities (LAs) are taking a very proactive approach to tracking children at risk of domestic abuse (the process was initiated in response to a reduction in the number of referrals). Local authorities have identified children that may be at risk but are not currently on social worker ‘watch lists’ by reviewing details of families discussed as part of multi-agency risk assessment conferences (MARAC) over the last six months and cross-referenced details against families that have been flagged with multiple referrals. This process has helped one LA identify 219 children that may be locked down in households with perpetrators of domestic abuse (45 of these children considered to be of greatest concern). From this, the LA has developed individual risk assessments and plans for each of these children, beginning with those believed to be most at risk.
Local Practice on supporting care leavers during COVID-19 and local authority responses, for more information click here

We hope you find this information useful.  If you are supporting care leavers who do not have access to a device or internet connection, please encourage/support them to get in contact with their local authority, which is responsible for allocating devices.
 
Finally, we’d like to thank you for helping to keep us informed about the situation on the ground. We will keep you updated if there are any other further information or announcements that you should know about.
Safeguarding partners have a key role is ensuring all children and families get the support they need during the current pandemic. We would be extremely grateful if safeguarding partners could spare some time to let us know how your safeguarding partners are responding together to the challenges of safeguarding children in the context of Covid-19. We are looking for practice examples which can be shared, and help inform policy decisions. You can contact us through our mail box: safeguarding.reform@education.gov.uk

Statutory Safeguarding Partners: Responses to safeguarding during Covid-19

Examples of practice from safeguarding partners:
  • Snapshot Multi Agency Assurance survey with all relevant agencies to provide assurance to the Executive, identify good practice and areas for development.
  • Sharing of business continuity plans to provide further assurance and share information and signposting to all.
  • Virtual meetings of Safeguarding Partners held more frequently -  focusing on safeguarding issues which especially benefit from all partners to problem solve and finding a way forward. The response to Domestic Abuse, for example, has been addressed by jointly reviewing national messages, data from all partners, community safety colleagues and multi-agency DA teams.
  • Initial Child Protection Conference / review conferences partnership spreadsheet and weekly meetings - including Health, Police, IRO Managers and Children’s Social Care to ensure coverage of Initial Child Protection Conference and review conferences to identify issues and discuss family engagement.
  • Reviewing together safeguarding issues as they play out, but also invest in thinking and planning ahead for when the area comes out of lockdown and the likely challenges.
  • Spreading good practice across police areas through their connections with neighbouring Safeguarding Partners.
  • Working with relevant agencies and the wider community - Partners have been bringing in wider partners and together functioning as the main Covid-19 coordination of response, others have joining wider strategic meetings – either approach has been used to use the structures to build on existing Safeguarding Partners relationships and create new ones.
Bexley Statutory Safeguarding Partners: Response to safeguarding during Covid-19. For more information click here
Early Intervention Foundation (EIF)
 
In April 2020 EIP released a publication - Covid-19 and early intervention Evidence, challenges and risks relating to virtual and digital delivery.  The publication is available here (word version here)
The Innovation Programme website

Want to learn more about Innovation Programme projects?
 
You can keep up-to-date with the latest developments from all of our Innovation Programme projects via our
website.
 

Want to hear more about Innovation Programme projects?

You can keep up-to-date with the latest developments from all of our Innovation Programme projects via our twitter feed. Our twitter handle is @csc_innovation or view the Innovation Programme website.
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