Coronavirus social care and safety
Coronavirus - social care and safety
The unusual circumstances of the coronavirus emergency are putting every family under extra pressure. This section covers how social care services and direct payments are operating at the moment, as well as advice and information on family safety and behaviour issues.
Changes to the law
If adult social care activate this permission to relax some Care Act duties they will still have to make sure that the care people receive is enough to prevent a breach of their Human Rights. This does mean that existing care packages for over 18s could be changed or reduced, although the government guidance is clear that the person concerned (and carers) should be consulted as part of any decision to revise a care package.
The government has made it clear that this is not intended to mean people who need care stop getting it. They expect all LAs to keep doing the right thing. But it does recognise the pressure that the coronavirus is putting on social care and allows for LAs to focus on the most urgent needs and most vulnerable people if things get really tough.
Support from social care services
Specialist Community Disability Service (SCDS) staff are working from home but trying to provide a normal service as far as possible. Read more about SEN interim arrangements in Brighton & Hove here
If you have an allocated social worker they will contact you by phone to provide updates and to check in with how you and your family are doing. If you don’t have named worker the Intake duty system can offer support and advice. Phone: 01273 295 550 or email SCDS@brighton-hove.gov.uk
SCDS are continuing to monitor direct payments. Advice is still available from People Plus. If you have a problem with your current Direct Payments package, for example your PA may not be available, contact your Social Worker or Early Help Worker. It may be possible to use your Direct Payments in a different way in the short term but you must contact your worker before making any changes to how you use your Direct Payments package. There is more detail bout DPs and PAs below.
Drove Road and Tudor House (BHCC residential respite centres) remain open for overnight respite, but they are affected by the need to keep children distanced and the availability of staff. There may come a time when this provision has to cease due to staff shortages and families needing to self-isolate, but the team will keep these services open as far as possible. If the centres do close the local authority will try to offer other options for short breaks like additional direct payments or support from outreach and social work staff.
ISEND Social Care teams are working from home but offering as close to a normal service as possible. Social workers in ISEND Social Care are continuing to respond to parents and assessing their needs on an individual basis. They are mostly doing this over the phone. All children’s social care services have been told to identify the children most at risk at this time and concentrate on them. Other more routine work may need to wait, but the ISEND social care team say they have mostly been able to find ways to respond to the particular challenges and queries from families of disabled children that are arising since the lockdown.
If you don’t have a named worker in the children’s disability service, there is central ESCC contact point for all queries relating to Children’s Services and provision in the current difficult situation. Email email@example.com or call 0345 60 80 192 (10am-3pm).
Personal assistants and direct payments
The government have provided some FAQs now about PAs and DPs which are easier to follow than their official guidance and cover more of the questions parents have about DPs and PAs in the current crisis including when PPE is needed. There is some information from People Plus who provide the PA support service in both East Sussex and Brighton & Hove this includes what you need to know about statutory sick pay if your PA is sick or self-isolating, why furlough does not apply to employees paid for from DPs and the options for paying your PA even if you feel it is safer for them not to come to your home at the moment. A good source of more detailed advice is from Mark Bates Ltd who are an insurance company frequently used by parents who employ PAs
If you think there are things you could buy that would make it easier to care for your child at home in the current difficult circumstances, talk to your social worker. The Children Act 1989 gives LAs the power to give direct payments to purchase equipment. In the current crisis it is reasonable to ask them to be flexible about how to meet the needs of disabled children. Using direct payments imaginatively may be part of the solution. But be sure to get agreement before you pay out for anything that is not in your current DP plan, even if you have the funds in your DP account. In practice social care may come up with another way to fund a reasonable request.
If you are worried about how to cope if you are without your usual help from PAs you should let your social worker know, particularly if any part of your agreed social care support package is not happening as normal e.g. if your child’s PA becomes ill or is self-isolating and you have not been able to find a replacement.
Safety and family relationships
The Children’s Commissioner has also produced a digital safety guide for parents and one for children and young people
In Brighton & Hove the Young Carers project at the Carers Centre may be able to offer some online support for siblings now taking more of a caring role. Parents can refer their own child to this service at the moment using their online young carers referral form and put ‘parent’ in the ‘professional agency’ box on the form.
If you are subject to domestic abuse, you are not alone, there is help available. For advice and support contact The Portal on 0300 323 9985 or via The Portal website.
If you are in immediate danger, or suspect someone else is, call 999.
If you are unable to talk, call 999, listen to the operator and then either press 55 on a mobile, when prompted, or wait on a landline to be connected to the police, who will be able to help.
Behaviour and parenting
East Sussex : If your child is already connected with a worker at an ISEND service for example from the CLASS or ESBAS teams, they may be able to offer advice to you at home now. Open for Parents have helpful parenting advice and information on their website and they are sharing ideas on their OpenforParents Facebook page.
ISEND educational psychology service have written a guide for parents about emotional wellbeing that you can use to help your child manage the emotions that can lead to tricky behaviour.
Brighton & Hove: If your child is already connected with a worker at BHISS for example from the autism or the SEMH teams, they may be able to offer advice to you at home now. The Integrated Team for Families are providing virtual support to families via Family Coaching. Front Door for Families and the Parenting Team are offering support and advice. Find their contact details here.
Amaze can offer Brighton parents some phone advice on parenting whilst we are unable to run our Triple P Stepping Stones courses for parents of children with SEND. Contact the SENDIASS helpline to ask about this.
If you have a named worker from the Specialist Community Disability Service (BHCC) or ISEND Children’s Disability Service (ESCC) you should contact them if your child’s behaviour is becoming a challenge to manage at home during lockdown. If you are not under one of these services call Front Door for Families in Brighton & Hove on 01273 290400 (out-of-hours 01273 335905) or SPOA in East Sussex on 01323 464222 (out-of-hours 01273 335906). Do this urgently if you or other children in the house are at risk as a result.
In an emergency situation you can and should call the police via 999.
Advice and support for carers
Care for the Carers is still working to support carers in East Sussex, switching services to phone, email or online and has information about extra support from other carers organisations across the county at this time, like this example.