Herefordshire Supporting And Safeguarding During Covid19

I couldn’t agree more that these are unprecedented times that will be so hard for everyone, especially some of our children and young people who are vulnerable to exploitation. Safeguarding exploited children remains an absolute necessity during this period of isolation, which has the potential to create a greater risk with services stretched to the limit and prioritisation of responses.

Herefordshire’s response  is similar to that outlined by North Yorkshire . All risk management meetings ae continuing  albeit they are now through conference call. This is working well so far with partners from all agencies using WebEx as a platform, from their device  to join the meeting. This is chaired remotely by myself, we are able to share the link to external partners so it enables us to invite parent, carers and children/YP to the meetings which ensures they are included in the process too. We are mindful of ensuring emails sent to parents do not breach data sharing or confidentiality for other parties and have processes in place.

Our Return home interviews are being completed using WhatsApp or Telephone calls and we are aiming to capture additional information from parents and carers where possible. We are providing our parents with our missing guidance information , signs and symptoms of exploitation and MISPER template, This is being sent via email/ picture message etc.  If a child is missing more than 3 times in 90 days a Missing Intervention meeting is triggered and held virtually. Pictures of young people and children are now being included within or Missing Trigger Plans.

We  have  SharePoint  which is an online drive to store all our minutes and agenda and resources  for all our meetings, so partners are able to work from home and still view agendas/update work etc. We are also conducting our ICPCs /LACR/ Strategy meetings  virtually to facilitate the support to children and families.

Direct work with families Is still undertaken, just changing the way this is conducted.  We are in the process of updating our support plans to illustrate this.  We use WhatsApp to call and contact young people ( this can be calls/ video’s, messaging , emoji’s)We also have access to our 16+ team Facebook account, so are able to use this to communicate with young people.

Information and intelligence is shared through weekly briefings with Police  colleagues using WebEx, this allows us opportunities  ensure we take a joined up approach where possible, strategically plan safeguarding meetings and responses. We are also able to plan any immediate disruption tactics that may need implement such as CAWNS, Markers on vehicles , premises to be shared with licensing etc.

Across the children and families directorate teams  are using WhatsApp groups to keep in contact  and we have cisco Jabber that allows you to make internal telephone calls/ video calls  from your laptop and is the equivalent to having a landline number- very clever.

Twice  a week, we meet virtually with our Head of service Barbara Langstaffe.  Senior Managers have also done  regular updates via email and offered stories of good work and success which has been well received and much needed to boost morale.

Daily compassionate banking is being implemented with our young people and families to reassure them we are still here and by their side. It  also provide a forum for Q &A’ as well ensuring  they are receiving the information from our  senior leaders.

 Hope that may contribute to the picture of national Reponses/ library  you are developing.