Children: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 15th June 2020.

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Photo of Lord Watson of Invergowrie Lord Watson of Invergowrie Shadow Spokesperson (Education)

To ask Her Majesty's Government which safeguards to protect children were (1) altered, and (2) removed, by the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The safety of vulnerable children remains paramount for the government during the COVID-19 outbreak which is why the vast majority of statutory duties remain unchanged. The duties to our most vulnerable children that are set out in primary legislation remain in place and we have made no changes to these.

The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 allow some temporary and limited flexibility during the COVID-19 outbreak, but these should only be used when absolutely necessary with oversight by senior management and decisions recorded. We expect local authorities and providers to comply with the original statutory duties where possible.

The amendments do not alter the overarching primary legislative responsibilities that local authorities have towards protecting children from significant harm and promoting their welfare. Some regulations have been temporarily amended, for example, to allow for face-to-face visits to take place remotely for use when absolutely necessary. However, local authorities must continue to act in the best interest of each child at all times.

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