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Temporary Changes to Services within Essex during the COVID-19 Outbreak

 

 

CHILDREN'S SERVICES

 

Prioritising support through continued contact with high risk child protection cases, our children-in-care and young people living in semi-independent accommodation.

 

Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service

Central points of contact and duty Health Visitors, School Nurses, Safeguarding and Looked After Children Nurses remain in place and are functioning as normal.

 

Mid Essex Tel: 0300 247 0014

North Essex Tel: 0300 247 0015

South Essex Tel: 0300 247 0013

West Essex Tel: 0300 247 0122

 

Other services have been prioritised so that face-to-face contact will only continue where safe to do so. New Birth (14-days after birth) home visits are continuing (those self-isolating will have a telephone assessment). Other developmental reviews and feeding support will be done virtually (vulnerable families will still receive face-to-face contacts at home or in one of our designated sites). 

 

Face-to-face contacts in Family Hubs will only happen if there is a significant need that is relevant to immediate safety and risk of a child. Looked After Children Review Health Assessments (RHA) will be conducted via phone unless there are Safeguarding concerns.

 

School drop-in clinics replaced by telephone consultation and support via our CHAT Health text messaging service. CHAT Health texting service:

 

Mid Essex Tel: 07520 615731

North Essex Tel: 07520 615734

South Essex Tel: 07520 615732

West Essex Tel: 07520 615733

 

People are encouraged to visit the Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service website and Facebook pages to get the help they need.

 

Children in Care Statutory Reviews

Reviews will continue to be held within statutory timescales, but they will be virtual reviews. Those invited to participate in a Children in Care review, will be asked to provide a report/consultation as usual, and will be notified of the date and time that the virtual review will take place. Individuals invited to attend the review will be sent a link by the IRO so that they can dial into a “Team” conference call or IROs will use another agreed method of communication in order to have discussions at the arranged time. Where necessary IROs will conduct a series of phone calls.

 

IROs will do everything possible to speak with children and young people as part of the review process, and Social Workers are expected to present an updated Life Plan to the review. IROs will write up their recommendations and reports in the normal way and these will be distributed as usual.

 

Child in Need

Child in Need (CIN) meetings/reviews will continue, but they will be virtual. Attendees who are unable to join virtually, may be asked to contribute views outside of the review arrangements which will then inform the review outcome report.

 

Families should be supported to participate in the CIN process as much as possible which includes being supported to join the CIN Meeting/Review through the use of conference calls wherever possible. If this is not possible the allocated Social Worker will hold a discussion with the family both pre and post meeting/review to gain their views about developing or progressing their CIN plan. Where there is a Child in Need Reviewing Officer involved, they will liaise with the allocated Social Worker and Team Manager about how best to manage the CIN Meeting/Review process for each family.

 

Child Protection Conferences

Where necessary conferences will go ahead virtually. It is as important as ever that appropriate plans are put in place to safeguard our most vulnerable children and young people. The Child Protection Co-ordinator (CPC) will liaise with the social worker and team manager about how best to manage the conference process on a case by case basis.

 

Key professionals from Partner Agencies will be asked to dial into the meeting wherever possible. We are asking partners to ensure that their written reports are circulated to the CPCs at least 48 hours before the conference, which will allow the CPC an opportunity to contact them for any further discussion or clarification if necessary.

 

MACE 1 meetings

MACE 1 meetings will continue to be held, but they will be virtual meetings. ECC will prepare for MACE 1 in the usual ways. This means that the administration for the meetings will continue as usual, social workers will be providing either the written updates or reports for the meeting. The agenda will be drawn up following the PRE-MACE meeting for new referrals and from the review dates for those children and young people as set at the previous discussion about them.

 

The people invited to MACE 1 will remain the same and will be invited to join a Microsoft Teams conference call. ECC will embed the agenda and reports to the Teams File for all attendees to view and will continue to send out the paperwork for the meeting to partners as usual. If your agency does not support Microsoft Teams, please ECC know, you may be asked to update your views via email.

 

MACE 1 will continue to be recorded by ECC and a record of the discussion will be completed for each child/ Young Person and circulated as usual to all attendees.

 

PRE-MACE meetings will continue as before but moving to a Teams format and again partners will be invited to dial into this meeting remotely.  The invitees external to ECC for these virtual meetings will remain as currently (being Essex Police and YOS).

 

Missing Chats

The offer of missing chats will remain the same: all young people returning from Missing Episodes and their parents/ carers will continue to be offered an independent Missing Chats throughout the period of social isolation as follows:

 

Missing Chats: missingchats@essex.gov.uk

 

Directory of Services

Directory of Services has been updated to include a new section focused on Covid-19, this includes details of all the food banks, Facebook groups in the local communities etc.

 

 

Schools

Essex Schools Infolink - Information including the model interim Child Protection policy for period of closure due to COVID-19 and safeguarding briefings that are being sent regularly to all schools.

 

Families InFocus (Essex)

Can be contacted through a variety of ways and our telephone helpline and helpline email continue to run a usual for both new and existing service users. Further information available on the website.

 

Essex County Council

Service changes on Essex County Council website.

 

 

DOMESTIC ABUSE

 

SET Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC)

Virtual MARACs are now in place and the processes have proved to be effective and efficient. All meetings are running as conference call meetings and this seems to be working well so far. MARAC contingency plans for managing their processes during the COVID-19 period have been shared with all the relevant partners.

Southend: Southenddfpsafeguarding@southend.gov.uk

Essex: EssexMARACReferrals@essex.pnn.police.uk

Thurrock: ThurrockMARAC@thurrock.gov.uk  

 

Domestic Abuse Refuges

Refuges continue to take referrals as long as people are not symptomatic for the coronavirus. 

 

Domestic Abuse Policing

Essex Police are currently responding to Domestic Abuse incidents as normal. However, consideration and safety advice as regards COVID-19 is being followed to protect members of the public and Police officers. Essex Police data shows that whilst emergency calls for domestic violence have decreased the volume of assessments has remained static. This is suggesting that there is a shift with domestic abuse cases being reported through other channels such as online. Domestic Violence Prevention Orders (DVPOs) remain a priority area of work for police and the Courts during this period and are still being applied for where appropriate.

 

COMPASS - 24/7 Domestic Abuse helpline

The Compass helpline has moved to homebased working but continues business as usual including the 24 hours helpline and webchat.  There has been a reduction in calls to the helpline which, given the circumstances, was expected. 

 

Community service providers continue to take referrals and provide community support remotely. There is refuge provision available for victims, provided they are not COVID-19 symptomatic.  All provisions are making the appropriate safety measures in line with Public Health and Government guidance.  The Compass Helpline is being promoted frequently via ECC, SETDAB and OFPCC communication channels.

 

Perpetrator Programmes

The Change Hub is committed to offering support to perpetrators throughout this period, however they will not offer face to face appointments for the foreseeable future. Instead, they will use safe and appropriate alternatives such as telephone/video-calling.

 

Respect has also launched its campaign today #NoExcuseforAbuse which calls on perpetrators to recognise their behaviour has become abusive and call the phoneline for guidance/support (to help change their behaviour).

 

 

Courts

Non Molestation Orders are being dealt with by the County Court Judges and anyone applying has to now contact the County Court.

 

The CPS continue to make charging decisions.  No trials are currently taking place – this is a national decision.  There will be a backlog of trials to deal with in the future and the Courts are devising a plan to address this.

 

Temporary change to SEDAH working arrangements

SEDAH’s normal face to face drop in sessions will be temporarily conducted via the telephone to prevent any unnecessary contact for both Clients & staff. Our number is : 01268 206798.

 

 

HEALTH

 

Provide – COVID-19 response

All but the most clinically essential face to face appointments have been stopped. Service users will be contacted if this affects them. Where possible, alternative ways of delivering care or supporting people will be put in place.

 

Essex Sexual Health Service – COVID-19 response

Online booking has been suspended; services to be accessed by calling the central booking line. All appointments made will require a telephone consultation prior to attendance.

 

Essex Lifestyle Service – COVID-19 response

Temporarily suspending all face to face appointments until further notice. The service will continue to operate clinics but by telephone only.

 

Provide Wellbeing – COVID-19 response

Suspended these services until further notice. Customers will be contacted to inform them of the cancellations and will be put on waiting lists to rebook appointments, where necessary.