Extra help for children delivered during pandemic

Tuesday, 7th July 2020

AN additional £1.3 million has been spent keeping vulnerable children and families in Staffordshire safe during the Coronavirus lockdown.

Staffordshire County Council’s Children and Families Services department invested heavily to cope with the unprecedented demands of continuing to provide front line support during the pandemic.

At the same time, the department dealt with more than 200 additions and amendments from central Government to the legislation and codes of practice relating to vulnerable children and those with Special Educational Needs.

Mark Sutton Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “Everyone connected to the Children and Families Services department has been fantastic.

“Since lockdown began staff have worked flexibly to continue providing essential support to those who need it and I’m proud to say that we have maintained the quality of our service to keep vulnerable children and young people safe.”

A report to the county council’s Safe and Strong Scrutiny Committee highlights:

  • all children considered to be at most risk were seen for up-to-date risk assessments;
  • arrangements put in place to ensure every key worker needing childcare had it during lockdown;
  • scheduled care leavers are staying with the county council beyond their 18th birthday until housing associations can begin allocating accommodation again;
  • staff volunteers supporting Domestic Abuse refuges to stay open;
  • staff availability averaged 86 per cent, with 60 per cent able to conduct home visits.
An additional £1.3 million has been spent keeping vulnerable children and families in Staffordshire safe during the Coronavirus lockdown.

AN additional £1.3 million has been spent keeping vulnerable children and families in Staffordshire safe during the Coronavirus lockdown.

The report also highlighted extensive work to support new and existing foster carers, with the recruitment of new carers and support for existing ones quickly switched to online.

Along with practical support in the shape of a ‘lockdown allowance’ to 450 foster households, carers had access to online training, had their regular scheduled conversations with allocated social workers and used virtual support groups to keep in touch with each other.

As well as the additional expenditure of £1.3 million, the overall cost to the service is calculated at approximately £4.2 million due to lost income and delayed delivery of planned savings.

Mark Sutton added: “These last few weeks have been tough for staff and carers who have faced extra practical and emotional challenges and everyone has worked hard to support each other and focus on keeping young people safe.”

READ MORE: Senior fire officer urges people to not take unnecessary risks at county’s beauty spots