Skip to content

Coronavirus Advice and Guidance for Professionals

 

 

The CYSCP recognise that the Coronavirus is putting increasing pressure on all services providing support to children, young people and families. In this changing landscape safeguarding continues to be a priority, however we recognise that we will all have to consider ways of doing things differently.

Government guidance may change over the coming days and weeks so please make sure you are kept informed and up to date with any new advice or guidance being produced, and adjust your ways of working as appropriate. We will update this page as more information is made available.

As practitioners we need to consider how we can maintain appropriate contact with the children, young people and families we work with, provide support at this difficult time as well as maintain business as usual as much as possible.

Please follow your own agency's contingency plans for providing services to children, young people and families, however in what may be challenging circumstances we would remind practitioners to:

  • Speak to families regarding any difficulties they may be experiencing due to spending more time together than usual, and signpost to where they can receive additional support.
  • Remain vigilant for the signs and indicators of abuse, including neglect and domestic violence, and raise any safeguarding concerns in line with your agency's procedures.
  • Remain vigilant for signs of radicalisation. Please see our Prevent page for further details.
  • If you suspect that a child or young person is being, or is at risk of being significantly harmed as a result of abuse or neglect, you must report this immediately in line with your agency's procedures. See our Concerned About a Child or Young Person page for contact information.
  • If you are using alternative methods such as social media and technology to keep in contact with children, young people and families, remember to do this in line with your agency’s policies and in a safe and appropriate manner.
  • Consider help and support through the Early Help and Local Area Teams.

Government Advice

Public Health England (PHE) has updated its report about population mental health and wellbeing in England during the coronavirus pandemic. Chapter 7 of the report looks at emerging findings from UK studies of the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people: Chapter 7: Children and young people

Ofsted has published five reports on the effects of the coronavirus pandemic across the sectors it inspects and regulates including: early years; schools; children’s social care; and special educational needs and disability (SEND) provision: Ofsted COVID-19 series

The DfE have published additional guidance for schools which are remaining open: Education and childcare settings: New National Restrictions from 5 November 2020

The DfE have updated their Guidance for full opening: schools

The DfE have published Guidance for Schools.

TheDfE have published guidance Early years and childcare: coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Government has published Important changes to Children's Services and SocialWork statutory responsibilities: The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020

The DfE have produced Safeguarding and remote education during coronavirus (COVID-19), guidance on how to follow safeguarding procedures when planning remote education strategies and teaching remotely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

 The DfE have produced Coronavirus (COVID-19): safeguarding in schools, colleges and other providers, guidance for schools and colleges to support them keeping children safe, including online, during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  

 Ofsted have produced Ofsted: coronavirus (COVID-19) rolling update, guidance and information relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) for schools, early years, children's social care and further education and skills providers.

 The DfE have produced Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for local authorities on children’s social care for local authorities, those who have corporate parenting responsibilities, and local safeguarding partnerships who work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in their area. It will also be of interest to social workers, residential care providers and staff, and those with safeguarding responsibilities.

DfE, on behalf of the Home Office and the Department for Health and Social Care, and the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel have produced a Joint communication from the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel and Department for Education (DfE). It sets out the expectations on the statutory safeguarding partners in relation to serious incident notifications, rapid reviews, serious case reviews and child safeguarding practice reviews in light of coronavirus. It also sets out the DfE’s continued child at immediate risk of harm procedures.

The Government has issued Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance on vulnerable children and young people

National Advice

NEW: Child Sexual Abuse resources

As we return to a national lockdown the Prevention programme from The Children’s Society is concerned regarding it’s potential impact on the exploitation and abuse of children and young people.

During phase one of Covid-19 there was an increase in online grooming into both Child Sexual Abuse and Child Criminal Exploitation and an increase in domestic abuse. The Children's Socierty are also concerned that children experiencing abuse at home may have been shut in with their abusers and unable to access support.

These concerns have not gone away and as England returns to lockdown, The Children's Society have collated a range of resources and support contacts for professionals, parents, key workers and others both working with children or entering the family home at this time. Please circulate these as widely as possible through your networks.

The Prevention programme will continue to support partners in responding to child exploitation and abuse across England and Wales at this time. If you think you might benefit from the programme’s support please get in touch.

Prevention Programme Covid-19 Guidance for Partners

Responding to Child Sexual Abuse during Covid-19 - Covid Briefing

Exploitation online booklet

CSA & E A3 Poster

CSA & E External Poster

The National Police Chiefs’ Council for the Child Protection and Abuse Investigations Working Group and The Children’s Society have produced this poster to raise awareness of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation during COVID-19. It is designed for neighbours and key workers visiting premises during the crisis, and outlines signs to be mindful of and how to report concerns.

ThinkUKnow have signposted key guidance, as well as organisations to support you in safeguarding children online and offline during COVID-19.

The Children's Commissioner has released a policy briefing on domestic abuse and it’s effects on children particularly during the coronavirus pandemic.

NPSCC Learning have released: Coronavirus: 5 steps to update your safeguarding policies and procedures.

NSPCC Learning  Coronavirus briefing: guidance and information for early years providers 

This NSPCC Coronavirus Briefing: guidance for social workers summarises guidance from across the UK on how social workers and local authorities should work during the pandemic to ensure that children are protected.

NSPCC learning have published a Coronavirus: safeguarding and child protection page which pulls together a list of services and resources to support professionals' work with children, young people and families during the coronavirus pandemic

IDAS have updated their Service Information and updated their Guidance for front line workers supporting people who are at risk from domestic abuse, and produced a list of frequently asked questions specifically around supporting those at risk of domestic violence during the COVID-19 Pandemic.They have also introduced Professionals Live Chat Sessions.

Local Advice

YorSexualHealth are currently limiting all face-to-face services in order to reduce the risk of transmission of Coronavirus and to enable staff to be re-deployed elsewhere as required. Full details and advice on sexual health and COVID-19 can be found on the YorSexual Health website

CYC Childrens Services have put together a pack of Factsheets for Children and Young People about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how they can protect themselves:

Care Leavers Factsheet

Children CP and CIN Factsheet

Children FEHA Factsheet

Children in Care Factsheet

Primary School Factsheet

Secondary School Factsheet

Young People CP and CIN Factsheet

Young People FEHA Factsheet

Young People in Care Factsheet

Interim guidance has been written by the Designated Professionals for Safeguarding Children and Children in Care, North Yorkshire and York for NHS provider organisations across North Yorkshire and City of York regarding management of Child Protection Medical Examinations during the Covid19 Pandemic (excluding Sexual Abuse medicals*)

The CYSCP has issued COVID-19 Strategy Statutory Child Protection and CYPIC arrangements, giving  guidance on how ICPC, RCPC, core Groups and CYPIC reviews will take place whilst concerns regarding COVID-19 are present and whilst face to face meetings are suspended.

An increase in adults mental health issues is inevitable at this time, the PAMIC tool is available for assessing and responding to the impact of parental mental ill health on children.

City of York Council put together a useful pack of information for parents during lockdown which has lots of information about how to cope with home schooling, talking to children about coronavirus and other sources of support. This can be downloadable here.

Parents of children with additional needs and disabilities can also get support from City of York Council's team of educational psychologists every Wednesday morning, from 9am to11.30am, until 24 March.  To get in touch with the team, please call 01904 553055.

We know that lockdown is difficult for families, so City of York Council have also created a short newsletter for parents and young people to provide useful information all in one place.

To keep up to date with further information please see the City of York Council website.

Support for families

See Hear Respond – rapid support for children and young people affected by the coronavirus crisis

The See Hear Respond Partnership, funded by the Department for Education and managed by Barnardo’s, has now been extended until the end of March 2021.

See Hear Respond has already helped over forty thousand children and young people across England during 2020. Of those who have benefitted from support from See Hear Respond, many were not classed as vulnerable before the COVID-19 pandemic, and others have seen their needs increase over the course of lockdown.

Barnado’s second phase will be focused on providing support for:

  • Families who are not eligible for support from Early Help or any other statutory agency
  • Children who experience barriers to reintegrating back into education and would benefit from short term, focused help to address these barriers
  • Young People best engaged in street based settings where they may be more willing to be engaged or may be at risk of harm or criminality 
  • Parents of children under 5s requiring support

Barnado’s can offer support in a number of ways – in many parts of the country face-to-face support is on offer for those families requiring it. In addition to this, they have found that the digital interventions also on offer allow for more flexible support to be put in place more quickly. Digital interventions can also enable children, young people and families to access support which may not be available in their local area, such as individual work to overcome barriers to returning to school, online group work to develop coping strategies and manage emotions and anxiety, and digital parenting support programmes.

It’s really easy to put in a referral into See Hear Respond – you can call 0800 157 7015 (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday), or go to www.barnardos.org.uk/see-hear-respond to complete a simple referral form.

Referrals are responded to quickly, and they work with a range of local and national voluntary sector organisations to put the appropriate support in place. There is also an online support hub at https://www.barnardos.org.uk/see-hear-respond-support-hub which may be a useful resource for any families you are supporting.

Help for anyone that needs support

We know lockdown has been incredibly difficult for many, and we would urge anyone that needs support to get in touch with the City of York Council Covid support team by covid19help@york.gov.uk or calling 01904 551550.

Live Well York is a website you can use to find helpful information and advice, discover hundreds of local groups, activities and events happening across York. You can also find local companies that will deliver food or supplies direct to you at: https://www.livewellyork.co.uk/FoodDeliveries.

You can create a personalised booklet of information from https://www.LiveWellYork.co.uk or, if you don’t have access to the internet, contact the Covid19 helpline and ask them to send one to you.

Keeping well: mental fitness, listening and suicide prevention

There are simple things we can all do to help prevent suicide.

The importance of listening, kindness, and caring are all themes that have come up more often than usual during this pandemic. These are all very meaningful behaviours which we can all use by developing our awareness and skills to offer these in simple and straightforward ways.

This BBC news article gives a great practical summary about how you can develop your listening skills. The article talks about the S H U S H method: 

  • S how you care
  • H ave patience
  • U se open questions (questions that can be answered with yes or no)
  • S ay it back
  • H ave courage 

The Kindness website provides tips on kindness that are founded in evidence about why kindness is so important. They have recently conducted a survey on what are the most valued acts of kindness during the Covid-19 pandemic.  

The Action for Happiness website has a range of resources that are focussed on kindness and provides examples of acts of kindness, and links to the useful reports such as this Mental Health Foundation report about the evidence of the importance of kindness.

 A recently launched campaign #feelrealyork aims to encourage people to share how they feel, to support people to talk and listen, details can be found at the NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group website.

 Suicide is a very sensitive issue which many of us can find difficult to talk about. Sometimes this arises from people’s personal or professional experiences of suicide. Often, it can be because people find the topic uncomfortable, worry they may say the wrong thing, appear insensitive, or be out of their depth.  To help you build skills and confidence to be able to support suicide prevention, the Zero Suicide Alliance organisation provides free suicide prevention training which can be accessed Zero Suicide Alliance website, or also from the Talk Suicide website. It is a short, straightforward and clear online course that can be taken by anyone, providing practical and useful ways to help keep people safe.

 The Samaritans website has a range of information, including facts and details of campaigns to help suicide prevention. They also provide listening support services every hour of every day every year which can be accessed by calling 116 123 for free. Their Small Talk Saves Lives campaign gives details about how we can all make a difference.

 There are a range of resources available that people can access or be signposted if they would benefit from support that can be found on the www.livewellyork.org.uk site here or York Mental Health Directory here.

 Common myths associated with suicide are unhelpful. This HelpGuide article explains many of these in more detail. Probably the most common myth, is that talking about suicide may give someone the idea. This is not true, talking about suicide can help someone who is having suicidal thoughts feel able to seek help.  Suicide is also not inevitable and talking about it can help prevent it.

If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, please T A L K: 

  • T ell someone what you are thinking and how you are feeling
  • A sk for their help, or seek help
  • L isten to their advice or advice from others
  • K now who to call in a crisis and keep the number with you at all times

You can call the Samaritans 24 hour helpline on 116 123, ring 111 to access mental health services - 24/7, 365 days a year, or contact your General Practitioner (GP). If you do not have a GP or do not know your GP's telephone number, please call 111

eceiving some training such as the Zero Suicide Alliance training can help you to support someone. For further information about suicide prevention and our York approach, the York strategy can be found on the CYC website, or please email andy.chapman@york.gov.uk to find out more.

Training 

PHE have launched an updated Psychological First Aid (PFA) digital training module, aimed at all frontline and essential workers and volunteers.

The course aims to increase awareness and confidence to provide psychosocial support to people affected by COVID-19.  PFA is a globally recognised training in emergency situations and has developed this new course as part of our national incident response, and in partnership with NHS England, Health Education England, FutureLearn and E-Learning for Health. 

The course is free, and no previous qualifications are required. It takes around 90 minutes to complete and is also available in three sessions for the learner to complete at their own pace. By the end of the course, outcomes will include: understanding how emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic can affect us, recognising people who may be at increased risk of distress and understanding how to offer practical and emotional support.  

NSPCC Learning are temporarily offering their Safeguarding awareness training for workers who enter people's homes free due to the Coronavirus crisis.

City of York Safeguarding Children Awareness E-learning is available through MyLO, and is aimed for individuals in organisations and voluntary groups who work with children and young people, families or adults who may be parents and/or carers, in York. 

IDAS provide free, online Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Basic Awareness Training: https://courses.idas.org.uk/

NSPCC also provide a range of Child Protection online training courses, although there is a charge for these: https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/training/introductory/

If you are going to be recruiting Volunteers to help support families, in the home or school environment, please be aware that they may require Safeguarding Children training. Details of where you can find this training will soon follow.

Learning from the pandemic

The last year has been difficult for us all. Our lives, and the lives of our children, have changed in ways we couldn’t have imagined. With constantly changing circumstances everyone has been continuously adapting, evidencing and learning about what works to help vulnerable children and families.

The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way we live, learn and work. Over the last 12 months, teams from across the NSPCC have undertaken and published research and evaluation reports that examine the impact of the pandemic on children, families and our staff; capture the NSPCC’s response at a local level; and share learnings from our virtual delivery of services.

In light of this, NSPCC have created a dedicated area on their NSPCC Learning website where you’ll find a range of resources designed to support people working with children and families during the pandemic.

In the ‘What works in supporting families’ section, they have brought together findings from a number of reports they have published during the last 12 months. They share what they’ve learnt about the impact of the pandemic on children, families and staff; capture the NSPCC’s response at a local level; and share learnings and recommendations from our virtual delivery of services that we, and others, can take forward.

Hear from NSPCC practitioners

Listen to NSPCC practitioners, Karen, Tracy and Kim share their experiences of supporting children and families during the pandemic in our new video. Learn about the tools and techniques they’ve used to engage children and families when working with them remotely, using telephone and video calls; how they’ve adapted they ways they work to keep children safe; and how a framework of support provided by managers and colleagues has helped them to still be here for children and families. 

Do you work with children and families? 

Susannah Bowyer, Assistant Director at Research in Practice, talks to colleagues from the NSPCC about what they’ve learned from supporting children and families during the pandemic.

They share their experiences of responding to the immediate needs of children and families when the first national lockdown was announced, and what they’ve learned since, from providing their services using virtual and digital methods alongside face-to-face work where possible.

Talking points

This podcast looks at:

  • Research the NSPCC has undertaken to understand the impact of the pandemic on the children and families they support, and their frontline practitioners.
  • How the NSPCC responded to meet the immediate needs of children and families at the start of the pandemic, and what they’ve done to adapt the support they provide in the face of constantly changing circumstances.
  • What the NSPCC has learned from delivering services both virtually and using a blended model of virtual and face-to-face support.