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Education Committee holds evidence session on vulnerable children

17 July 2020

The Education Select Committee is holding an evidence session to consider the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak on children in social care, looked-after children, and those with safeguarding and welfare needs.

Purpose of the session

The first panel will also consider alternative provision and school exclusions. The second panel will allow for a more strategic look at children’s services. The witnesses representing local authorities have been chosen for their personal expertise and experience, rather than the councils they currently lead.

There is a concern that children who before Covid-19 were already vulnerable could now be facing further hardship. The OECD has reported that the Covid-19 outbreak acts as a catalyst for a considerable rise in child maltreatment by exacerbating some of the contributing factors, such as household poverty, overcrowded housing, social isolation, domestic violence, and parental substance abuse. In some families, this could create a ‘pressure cooker’ situation.

As lockdown conditions continue to be eased, and schools and early years provision reopen, and universal services start to operate more normally, the Committee wishes to consider how children’s services are positioned to deal with the full extent the pandemic is having on the lives of the children and the families they are there to support.

Witnesses

Wednesday 22 July 2020.

At 9.45am:

  • Kiran Gill, CEO, The Difference
  • Peter Sandiford, CEO, Independent Children’s Homes Association
  • Kevin Williams, CEO, The Fostering Network

At 10.45am:

  • John Coughlan CBE, Chief Executive, Hampshire County Council
  • Yvette Stanley, National Director, Social Care, Ofsted
  • Ian Thomas CBE, Chief Executive, Royal Borough of Kingston upon
  • Thames

Further information

Image: PA