The report published today (7th September 2020) by the Local Government Association revealed that children's social care teams received 41, 190 referrals between April and June - around 18 per cent lower than the same period over the past three years.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said:
“These figures show that many vulnerable children have been hidden from view by the cloak of the COVID-19 lockdown. Teachers, health visitors and other professionals have not had the opportunity to identify children at risk and refer them for further support in the normal way.
“But now with children returning to school, it’s very likely we will see a significant rise in referrals, including for children who have suffered bereavement and anxiety – especially in BAME communities – and for children who have been trapped in unsafe homes.
"It’s absolutely vital that children’s services have the resources and capacity they need to respond to those identified as needing support without having to wait until they hit crisis point.
“Barnardo’s See, Hear, Respond programme, funded by the Department for Education and delivered in partnership with almost 80 national and local charities across England, can help children and families with challenges arising from COVID, and we strongly urge teachers and other professionals to refer children who may need support.
“In the longer term, the pandemic must be a catalyst for fundamental change. This year’s Spending Review is a unique opportunity to provide long-term funding that focuses on prevention and earlier intervention, while Government, local agencies, education, Health and charities must work more closely together to meet the growing demand for support and give vulnerable children the best possible chance of a positive future.”
Find out more about See, Hear, Respond or make a referral at: https://www.barnardos.org.uk/see-hear-respond