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Ofsted publishes report regarding impact of Covid-19 pandemic on children’s social care

On 27 July 2022, Ofsted published a report addressing the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the children's social care sector.

Some of the impacts identified by the report were:

• Children were less visible to professionals during the Covid-19 restrictions, therefore increasing the risk that harm to certain children was not being identified.

• Since the lifting of restrictions, many services are either still not being offered or are running at lower capacity than pre-pandemic levels.

• Difficulties facing care leavers were compounded, as many relationships and support networks were disrupted and they experienced financial and practical difficulties. The report noted that greater numbers of care leavers than would have been expected before the pandemic are not in stable employment or education.

• Greater numbers of residential workers are leaving the social work sector completely to pursue more flexible and better paid work elsewhere.

• Deterioration of mental health of some children and young people. Health services are stretched. Many local authorities and providers are organising their own mental health and well-being services as a result, which transfers cost pressure to local authorities and can lack the clinical governance of NHS services.

• Difficulties continue in identifying residential placements for children, particularly in secure provisions where the number of places for children with highly complex and specific needs is not meeting demand.

For Ofsted's full report, click here.

Julia Queen, Barrister, Coram Chambers