Multi-agency working between children’s social care and schools during Covid-19: case study experiences from English local authorities and international reflections

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Abstract

Purpose: A multiagency approach to supporting and enhancing child welfare lies at the heart of policies and practice in England and many other countries. The assumption is that if professionals together from different disciplines share their knowledge and skills this will lead to better outcomes for children and their families. The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the “normal practice” of such arrangements. This research explored how the pandemic's disruption led to new ways of communicating and professional behaviour, while exploring the potential for longer-term impact in England and other jurisdictions. Design/methodology/approach: Case studies were conducted in 2020 in five English local authorities to explore how schools worked with Children's Social Care and other professionals during the COVID-19 period. It was supplemented by a survey of schools and discussions with and reflections from those with relevant experience in five other countries. Findings: Many schools played an extended role in supporting vulnerable and “in need” families during this period. Children's Social Care recognised their contributions and the improved communication achieved, although schools were divided over whether relationships had improved. Most communication and meetings were online; while benefits were noted there were concerns for families who were digitally disadvantaged. Originality/value: The work provides a contemporary picture of multiagency work during the 2020 pandemic and identifies factors which may shape this work in the future in England and internationally.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Integrated Care
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Multi-agency
  • health
  • police
  • social workers
  • teachers
  • children’s social care
  • schools

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