Barnardo’s is to lead a new coalition of charities aimed at helping vulnerable children most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Funded by £7m from Department for Education programme, the See, Hear, Respond service launches on 15 June with Barnardo’s due to open applications for expressions of interest from local partners in the coming weeks. Leading See, Hear, Respond, Barnardo’s will form a coalition with other national children’s charities and community-based organisations, which will work alongside local authorities, schools and colleges, police forces, healthcare professionals and other child protection services.
See, Hear, Respond will aim to reach children and families who are not in contact with children’s services and to prevent their needs escalating. It will prioritise those most at risk of harm either inside or outside the home, including very young children and adolescents.
See, Hear, Respond will provide:
- Access to an online support package to children and families ensuring they have readily available, accessible and interactive information
- Online and telephone referral service by trained professionals who can source further help and support from charity workers within the partnership
- Online counselling or therapy for those experiencing high levels of anxiety, trauma or other mental health issues that can be safely addressed through digital means
- Youth interventions and face-to-face crisis support, particularly for those at risk of or experiencing various forms of exploitation, including criminal exploitation
In particular, Barnardo’s says, it will focus on:
- Under 5s, with a focus on under 2s
- Those with SEND who have other associated harms such as exploitation
- Children out of the home at risk of criminal and sexual exploitation – working in outreach detached settings
- BAME children – offering culturally sensitive and responsive services to reach families and communities that have been disproportionately impacted by Covid 19
- Young carers
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said:
“The coronavirus pandemic means vulnerable children and young people are increasingly hidden from services, and by working closely with the Department for Education and a wide range of national and local charities, we will provide a vital lifeline to those at risk of harm. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, and we have formed this partnership because vulnerable children now face challenges that are too complex for any single organisation to solve alone.”
“Through this project, we aim to reach hundreds of thousands of children who have been hidden from services, either face to face or with digital tools. By stepping in early we will improve their long-term outcomes and maximise their chance of a positive future.”
The Department for Education and the Home Office are also opening a new joint £7.6 million fund for national vulnerable children’s charities working in England and Wales on issues including child sexual abuse and child criminal exploitation. This money is aimed at charities that have suffered financial harm as a result of the virus, to help them stabilise and continue delivering their services.
The application process for the £7.6 million fund for national vulnerable children’s charities will open shortly.
Funding for both comes from the Government’s £750 million package of support for charities.
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