More than a million parents1 believe their child could benefit from professional help in the
wake of the coronavirus lockdown, according to a new survey by Barnardo’s.
The poll of more than 1,000 British parents conducted by YouGov2 for the leading
children’s charity also reveals that more than half (58%) of parents have found it difficult
to cope with their children during lockdown at some point.
Almost a third (30%) report their children are often frustrated, with more than a quarter
(28%) saying they get angry more easily and more than one-in-five (21%) saying they
are sleeping less at times since lockdown began in March.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Barnardo’s anticipates that children and young people
who were not previously vulnerable are now struggling because of the effects of Covid19 and the lockdown.
Many may be slipping through the cracks as parents struggle to juggle life during
coronavirus and children and young people are less visible to support services and
schools because of social distancing measures.
But help is available for children, young people, parents and carers though the new
See, Hear, Respond Partnership, which is funded by the Department for
Education and was set up to support those who have become vulnerable throughout
the coronavirus pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic has meant that vulnerable children and young people are
‘hidden’ from vital support services. Many have suffered in silence, struggling with
mental health problems or abuse at home, by gangs or online.
Parents are also stretched further than ever, many families have been hit hard
financially, have had additional home schooling responsibilities or may be caring for
other family members who are shielding. This can all put additional strain on family
relationships and physical and mental health.
Black, Asian and minority ethnic children are more likely to be carers for ill or disabled
family members and are more likely to suffer bereavement as the virus
disproportionately affects people of colour.
While the top three things that parents thought would help their child cope better during
the lockdown were spending time with wider friends and family (42%), time to be outside
in the fresh air away from the home (36%) and going back to school (33%), a small but
significant proportion (7%) said speaking to a professional children’s support worker
could help their child cope better.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Javed Khan, said: “Being in lockdown has been a
difficult challenge and stressful time for many families and both children and parents
have had to quickly adapt to an extreme set of circumstances.
“It’s okay to be struggling at this time but there is support out there. Our See, Hear,
Respond service is there for any child or parent who is having difficulties because of
coronavirus. We won’t judge or blame you and we’re here to give you the support you
need for your family to thrive.”
Through the See, Hear, Respond Partnership, Barnardo’s is leading a coalition of
national charities including the Children’s Society, Action for Children and more
than 40 local charities across England. They are providing support to children who are
experiencing harm and increased adversity during coronavirus and are not being
supported by other agencies or professionals like social workers.
Support can include engaging children outside of the home in safe activities, giving
space between children and parents and working with them to create a package to help
support the child and family on their return to education. Therapeutic specialist workers
can also help children to understand the impact of COVID-19 and manage any
overwhelming feelings and anxiety.
The coalition, made up of local and national charities, works together to expand its reach
and help vulnerable children most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic through online
counselling, therapy and face-to-face support.
For more information or to make a referral to the See, Hear, Respond
service visit: barnardos.org.uk/see-hear-respond