Multi-agency Efforts to Protect Children During Lockdown

Multi-agency Efforts to Protect Children During Lockdown Image

Multi-agency efforts to protect Dundee children during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic and first lockdown are being praised in a new publication. 

Work to prevent children suffering from hidden harm, especially during the closure of schools from last spring, is highlighted in the annual report of the Dundee Child Protection Committee. 

The children and families services committee will be told that a wide range of activities have been undertaken during the COVID-19 pandemic to monitor the impact on vulnerable children, young people and families and to provide ongoing support and intervention where this was required.

 All children and young people on the Child Protection Register received a minimum of fortnightly face-to-face support from the Children and Families Service.

The service also worked with partners to co-ordinate support through the eight Community Support Centres established during the first lockdown and other outreach routes.

In response to a reduction in the number of referrals being received through child concern processes from schools during closures, actions were taken to reduce the risks for children and young people and to identify and respond to hidden harm.     

The report covers April 2019 to July 2020.

Elaine Torrance, independent chair of the Dundee Child Protection Committee said “The latter part of this period was made more challenging by the sudden onset of the COVID19 pandemic in February. 

“Whilst all agencies individually responded with their own operational plans the Child Protection Committee met more regularly to ensure there was an effective multi -agency response to strategic and key identified risks. In my role as Independent Chair I was really impressed by the way all key partners responded quickly and flexibly, shared information effectively and kept an ongoing focus on identifying any hidden harm that may be possibly occurring especially during the period when the schools were closed. This close partnership working continues to respond to the ongoing challenges of the pandemic which continue to impact on staff, families and children and young people themselves.”

A delivery plan has been developed for the current year (2020/21) including arrangements to manage the ongoing challenges of COVID-19.

Councillor Stewart Hunter, children and families services convener, added: “These continue to be very challenging times and this report demonstrates the ongoing efforts to keep children safe from harm.

“Our teams have been extremely flexible in responding to these circumstances and have developed innovative ways to deliver services.”

The report will be considered by the committee on Monday March 8.

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