The rules which have been introduced in the UK constantly as a result of the pandemic are now exposing the children in care at high risk.
These “unjustified” rules have denuded back visits as well as inspections during the coronavirus pandemic. A watchdog admonished the action calling for them to be repealed at once.
The children`s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, mentioned that the nation`s exposed children were no longer safe from cases like sexual abuse by grooming gangs. A number of emergency regulations which weaken certain safeguards meant for children in care, were introduced to enable councils to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
As a result of the “extraordinary pressure on local authorities,” the regulations were rushed through. One of the rules stated that social workers will be allowed to have contact with the children in care or privately fostered, as soon as “reasonably practicable”- rather than within a week or six weeks for the following year.
Another regulation was to relax requirements to review care plans – depriving children of the chance to raise their concerns and have them independently scrutinised. Several other regulations which further deprives the children in care were also introduced.
The chief executive of the Just For Kids Law group of children`s charities, Enver Solomon, expressed criticism saying: “These are children who have already received great trauma in their lives and now they will find it more difficult to cope by themselves.”
Ms Longfield stated several examples of complaints about the failures of the local authorities which were brought to her office. A certain child raised concern about their care and was told “we don`t do complains anymore”. Another one left home to live elsewhere, but the council “did not notice for weeks”.
Ms Longfield said: “There is a potential for children in care not to be given the protection they need and for them to be put at greater risk,” Ms Longfield said.
“For some, that means they are at greater risk of grooming or exploitation, especially older children in semi-independent accommodation.”