These are difficult and unusual times. I’m writing this on the ninth day of our team at What Works for Children’s Social Care working from home, and amid the team making their best efforts to continue our research in this peculiar set of circumstances.
We are fortunate that we have jobs that enable us to work from home, and that our part in all this is straightforward – we need to follow guidance from Public Health England, and adhere to the government’s advice about social distancing and when to self-isolate. We know that our partners delivering children’s services around the country are not so lucky, and that their vital work to support families and protect children goes on despite the pandemic. I am glad that the government designated social workers a key profession during this crisis to maximise the number who can continue to work, and that children who have a social worker can continue to attend school and receive support there.
There are limits to how helpful we can be as researchers, except to get out of the way. We’ve cancelled all of our events for the foreseeable future, but are working hard to create accessible and interesting digital content as we report on some of our flagship projects for this year. In the coming weeks, look out for the findings of our Devolved Budgets, Social Workers in Schools and Children Looked After in Higher education projects.
We are also fortunate to employ several social workers across our organisation, and they are in discussion with local authorities to work out how to put their skills, qualifications and experience to good use during these times of stretched and constrained resources. I am under no illusion about the comparative value of their talents to my own, but if we can find a way to help, we will do.
In the meantime, there isn’t much left to say except to hope that people stay safe, stay healthy, and continue to care for one another. If there is any way me and the team can help, please get in touch.