The emergence of a new set of public health measures to address the significant rise in infections and the anticipated second wave of the pandemic is of substantial concern to the child placement sector. To date, the sector has risen to the challenge in a remarkable way, and that reflects the commitment, determination and flexibility of those that work in the sector running alongside the carers who provide direct care for the children placed with them. That has been by no means easy, and that does not mean that there are no significant issues to be addressed – the rise in the numbers of child protection referrals, the longer-term impact of the stresses that carers and children have endured for many months, the impact of the return to school, the challenge to the health sector in providing non-Covid-19 services and the challenge in the court system in resolving to care proceedings.
CoramBAAF’s guidance is now faced with the challenge of ensuring that it continues to be helpful, reflects current concerns and is deliverable in what it recommends. We are committed to making revisions where necessary, but we do not want to introduce further confusion or uncertainty to a sector that is already under considerable pressure. This is particularly so when the future is so uncertain with policy moving in the direction of providing local solutions or local lockdown and the testing and tracing system is not adequate to meet demand. To re-draft our guidance to reflect an emerging and variable set of circumstances is difficult. We do not want to make things even more difficult.
So, we are keeping our current guidance under continuous review. We will do what we can to be constructively helpful. Our priority is to keep the safety, welfare and well-being of children, their carers and the sector in the front of our collective minds as we know the sector has done over the preceding months.