Warwickshire County Council is helping families stay safe and well during the Covid-19 outbreak

Warwickshire County Council (WCC) Children and Families Service is continuing to run essential services throughout the Coronavirus pandemic to keep vulnerable children and families in Warwickshire safe.

There are over 5,500 vulnerable children and young people in Warwickshire who require support from Social Workers, Family Support Workers, Foster Carers and Youth Workers and the service are doing everything they can to go the extra mile to support these individuals during this unsettling time.

The service is helping to ensure that families have the food and medication supplies that they need and that parents are able to meet their children’s needs. This includes helping children and young people to understand the importance of social distancing measures and providing information on government advice about Coronavirus, as well as keeping them calm and occupied at home by providing useful home learning exercises, indoor activity ideas and much more.

There are over 700 children in Warwickshire that are in care and so Foster Carers are also working throughout lockdown, continuing to support children in care every day – support that is needed now more than ever. Foster Carers often look after children who have experienced trauma and abuse so this current crisis can be a particularly unsettling and confusing time for them. During these uncertain times, it is important to keep children calm, occupied and in a routine. WCC has recently received an increase in enquiries of people wanting to become foster carers and the council always welcomes more applicants. Applications are being progressed virtually as much as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.

John Coleman, Assistant Director of Children and Families Service at Warwickshire County Council said:

“As a service we always put children and families at the heart of everything we do, and now this is more important than ever.

“We have embraced new ways of working; we now have online youth groups which have proved very popular and provide a place of support for young people and our Foster Carers are doing an amazing job of supporting children in care.

“Our Social Workers are continuing to visit homes where needed, we are taking full precautions to protect our staff and families and they are using PPE during every visit.

“Often the families we are supporting are very vulnerable and face issues like domestic abuse, mental health or substance misuse so for these vulnerable families, the Coronavirus pandemic adds further stress and difficulties to an already complex situation. This makes the support from our social workers ever more important at this difficult time.

“As a service we would like to reassure all families in Warwickshire that there is lots of help and support available during this time if you’re struggling.”

The council is also running a variety of advertising campaigns across social media targeted at children and young people in Warwickshire providing information on what to do if you feel unsafe at home, they have already reached over 300,000 people, ensuring that as many children and young people as possible know where they need to go to for help.

The Family Information Service provides information to families, parents, carers, teachers and other professionals in Warwickshire. The service has enhanced the support available, distributing a newsletter to thousands of family’s inboxes twice a week packed with updates about Coronavirus, information on school closures, mental health support, activities and education ideas for children and much more.

The Family Information Service is also available to advise families over the phone, via email and online to support families on anything that might be worrying them during the Coronavirus pandemic as well as other issues such as family relationships, finance, housing, parenting support, special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), childcare and health and wellbeing.

If you are in need of support or advice, contact the Family Information Service by calling 01926 742274 or emailing fis@warwickshire.gov.uk. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

If you are a child or young person and you feel unsafe at home, or feel worried about a friend or sibling during the current situation, here are some things you may be able to do to get the help you need – https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/information-coronavirus/coronavirus-children-families/1

To sign up to the Family Information Service newsletter, visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/parentupdates

For information the further support available for children and families in Warwickshire visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/childrenandfamilies.

For more information on fostering in Warwickshire visit https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/fostering

For up-to-date information and advice about Coronavirus visit https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/coronavirus