Support for vulnerable children during Covid-19

Bridgend County Borough Council and its partners have put a range of measures in place to support vulnerable children and young people during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The council is working alongside the likes of the MASH Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub, South Wales Police, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board and local schools to look after vulnerable learners’ physical, emotional and mental well-being while the lockdown is in place.

Cllr Phil White, Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help, said:

“Vulnerable children and young people may be looked-after or in care, on the child protection register, known to our early help services, or have been identified as needing social care and support.

“They may also have special education or additional learning needs, be adopted, or acting as a carer for somebody else. With such a wide array of needs, the council and its partners are supporting them in a range of different ways.”

Children who are entitled to free school meals were initially provided with packed lunches, but these have now been replaced with food parcels which are delivered directly to each child’s home by school transport operators and contain five days’ worth of food – enough to cover both breakfast and lunch each day.

Pupils who are on the child protection register are continuing to receive contact and support from the council’s social care teams as well as regular contact through Skype and on the telephone.

Schools have individual action plans in place for vulnerable learners, and are regularly checking in and monitoring their well-being via email, phone and other online methods.

The council’s Inclusion Service, Edge of Care Team and Bridgend Youth Justice Service are all in regular contact with children, young people and their families, and are continuing to provide them with advice and guidance.

Critical cases are being contacted every other day, and risk assessments are being carried out so that where necessary, personal visits can take place safely despite the pandemic.

While the outbreak is underway, vulnerable children are also able to access emergency childcare hubs and special schools, and early help services are staying in close contact.

Cllr Dhanisha Patel, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations, added:

“It’s vitally important to ensure that no child falls through the cracks during these difficult times, while also observing social distancing and lockdown requirements in order to limit the potential of exposure to the coronavirus.

“Residents can be assured that throughout the pandemic, the council and its partners are continuing to provide services which support and protect vulnerable children and young people.

“At the same time, we can all do our bit to help protect the vulnerable, and I would urge people who may have concerns about the welfare of a child to report it or seek further advice – you can do this by emailing [email protected] or calling 01656 642740.”