Coram Voice is expressing concerns over the new legislation that came into effect last Friday (24 April 2020), that relaxes the statutory rights and safeguards in council’s social care duties for children and young people in and around the care system during COVID-19.
In place until 25 September 2020, The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 has seen children’s rights and safeguards relaxed in 10 statutory instruments.
Most concerning are:
- Removing basic protection for children through a change which allows social workers who are not able to meet the six-weekly time-scales to visit “as soon as is reasonably practicable”.
- Relaxing the law to such an extent that councils are not even required to make a telephone call to a child in care once every six weeks.
- A substantial dilution of child protection through the six-monthly reviews of children in care move to a “where reasonably practicable” time-frame.
- Twice-yearly Ofsted inspections of children’s homes no longer required.
Managing Director of Coram Voice Brigid Robinson said of the changes: “We are concerned to see these changes being brought in by the Government.
Although we understand that Local Authorities and public services are currently under pressure, these changes erode the rights of children at a time of most need. We believe that this amendment, brought in without consultation, has removed key safeguarding and legal protections for children in and around the care system.
We see this as a dangerous move at a time when children and young people need more, not less, support and safeguards.”