William Eichler 03 June 2021

Children’s social care services ‘creative’ during pandemic, study finds

Children’s social care services ‘creative’ during pandemic, study finds image

A new study has found that children’s social care services have been ‘flexible’ and ‘creative’ in their responses to supporting care leavers during the pandemic, but it also found COVID-19 has exposed fragility in current systems.

Researchers at the University of Bedfordshire have completed the first stage of a study investigating the support available to care leavers during the pandemic. They interviewed children’s social care professionals and leaving care managers from across England.

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the study found that the pandemic has been a catalyst for some positive adjustments to approaches to service delivery and the levels and types of support available.

There was some indication that during COVID-19, services had moved away from bureaucratic and ‘task-focused’ practice and towards more personalised, flexible and relational support.

Professor Emily Munro, director of the Institute of Applied Social Research and the principal investigator for the study, explained how services reported they had responded: ‘Young people leaving care are a diverse group but COVID-19 has increased the challenges and disadvantages they face.

‘Emerging findings so far suggest that care professionals have been creative and flexible in their approaches to supporting young people leaving care during the pandemic. They have been meeting young people for socially distanced walks or bike rides and arranging virtual drop-in sessions, quizzes, cooking sessions and exercise classes to try and minimise isolation. Children’s social care providers have also been making discretionary payments, in some cases, to respond to increased financial hardship.’

However, findings from the study also exposed underlying issues affecting care leavers, including poverty, isolation and mental ill-health, which have been further exacerbated during the pandemic.

Mental health and access to suitable accommodation were of particular concern, with every local authority having identified mental health support for care leavers as a pressing issue. There was evidence of gaps in the availability of, and access to, effective mental health services for care leavers during the transition to adulthood.

Professor Munro added: ‘In the aftermath of the pandemic, it will be important to build on the positive adaptations to services and support that have been embedded during the crisis, and to remain attuned and responsive to the diverse needs of young people leaving care.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

People Technology / HRIS Analyst

Essex County Council
Up to £42174 per annum
The Opportunity The People Technology / HRIS Analyst will be responsible for supporting the ongoing management of people-based technology including England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Principal Energy Engineer

Surrey County Council
£45,734 - £51,725 per annum
Do you have experience in working with delivering carbon reduction measures into a range of building projects? Surrey
Recuriter: Surrey County Council

Wellbeing and Independence Practitioner - Safeguarding

Essex County Council
£27203 - £31370 per annum
Please note, this role is a Fixed Term Contract until the end of March 2022. With us, you can achieve more - for yourself as well as those you work England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive

Essex County Fire & Rescue Service
c. £150,000
Are you ready for an exciting and rewarding opportunity Essex
Recuriter: Essex County Fire & Rescue Service

Housing Development Manager

City of York Council
£36,476 to £41,830 per annum
Do you want to play a key part in the delivery of “the UK’s most ambitious council-led housing programme in a generation”? York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue