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Safeguarding during the COVID-19 pandemic

Temporary changes to children’s services

The aim of our children’s services is to keep children and young people in Bracknell Forest safe. This is no different during the coronavirus outbreak. Whilst we are working to maintain these services, some changes have been made to make sure that we are complying with the national guidance.

The information on this page is for families and partners to understand the temporary changes we have put in place to meet the government requirements and continue our services.

Our actions have been guided by the following principles:

  • making child-centred decisions
  • undertaking risk-based prioritisation of resources
  • being family focused in approach
  • making evidence informed decisions
  • working collaboratively with other professionals
  • delivering services safely for staff

New cases and front door access

The documents below explain how we will be addressing any concerns that are raised about children and young people based on current known risks, including national and local guidance, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Children with social workers

Visits and meetings

Where it is possible and safe to do so, some meetings and visits will be carried out face-to-face, while some will be done virtually on a temporary basis. This could be through Microsoft Teams or video calls.

They will follow the procedures set out in the guidance for virtual child protection conferences and children looked after reviews.

Individual cases will be risk assessed using a family contact pathway which evaluates risk, health and symptoms, for both the family and the staff member. Families must tell their social worker if members of the household are in a high risk medical group or if they are experiencing coronavirus symptoms.

Home visits will continue to take place where risk assessments identify that this is required and the best option for the child. In these situations, the government guidance around social distancing and appropriate personal protective equipment will be followed. This will be discussed ahead of any visits.

Where possible, the content and structure of these meetings will remain the same.

Assessments and reviews

Fostering and adoption panels will continue as needed, however there may be changes to who sits on the panel. Any attendees will be informed of this prior to the meeting. These will also all take place virtually.

Some of the usual requirements for when reviews must happen have been changed nationally. This includes reviews for care planning and for new foster parent placements. Wherever it is reasonably possible, we will carry out assessments and reviews within the normal timescales and risks will be assessed to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child.