Children: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 22nd June 2020.

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Photo of Lord Storey Lord Storey Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Education)

To ask Her Majesty's Government when legal safeguards for vulnerable children removed during the COVID-19 outbreak will be reinstated.

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

In regard to children’s social care, the department has not removed any primary legislative responsibility that local authorities have towards safeguarding children. The Children and Adoption (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 will expire on 25 September unless there is a clear need to extend them related to the COVID-19 outbreak, which will be informed by feedback from across the sector including children’s charities.

In regard to special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), we have temporarily changed some aspects of the law on education, health and care (EHC) needs assessments and plans. Detailed guidance on these changes is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/changes-to-the-law-on-education-health-and-care-needs-assessments-and-plans-due-to-coronavirus/education-health-and-care-needs-assessments-and-plans-guidance-on-temporary-legislative-changes-relating-to-coronavirus-covid-19.

We are committed to ending the temporary changes to the law on EHC needs assessment and plan processes at the earliest opportunity. We are keeping these measures under constant review, working with a range of stakeholders to monitor the situation on the ground.

The Regulations will expire on 25 September unless there is a clear need to extend them and we are committed to continuously reviewing them. They will be considered on a case by case basis and decisions will the informed by feedback across the sector, including children’s charities. Changes will also be subject to parliamentary scrutiny.

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