Laura Sharman 27 April 2020

Warnings that vulnerable children 'hidden from sight' during lockdown

New local area profiles will help councils identify how many vulnerable children are in their area.

The Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, has published analysis of the extent of child vulnerability around the country.

The profiles highlight which groups are at heightened risk during the coronavirus emergency such as those in overcrowded or inadequate accommodation, with fragile parents, young carers, or without internet access.

Ms Longfield said: 'Our figures on local need lay bare the extent and nature of child vulnerability in each area, and the extraordinary pressures on some councils to try and protect them all.

'I believe that with the right will, government – local and national – could ensure that all vulnerable children are seen and contact is maintained, harnessing if necessary the efforts of suitable volunteers, those from services which are currently closed or who are recently retired from child-facing work.'

She is calling for real-time data to be leveraged to give local services some of the missing critical intelligence they need to know which families may not be coping and need help.

Sam Royston, director of policy and research at The Children’s Society, said: 'It’s hugely worrying that so many vulnerable children are invisible right now to the professionals who would normally spot risks and help keep them safe.

'The lockdown is leaving many children lonely, isolated and unable to get respite from home lives which may be blighted by violence, conflict or substance misuse. Existing risks in their lives may be worsened and they may be exposed to new dangers, including everything from being groomed online for sexual abuse, to county lines exploitation.'

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