Children and families
How we will be safeguarding children in this period
As the situation with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) continues to develop, Sutton Council remains committed to helping you and your family to stay safe. The Council and partners, including the community and voluntary sector, are working together to continue to support and safeguard children.
Safeguarding delivered differently
During this period, we need to continue to ensure that all children are safe in their homes and that all children, families and carers receive the support they need. Due to social distancing and the need to support capacity across Council services, the way we deliver this support may look a bit different to normal:
Our Children’s First Contact Service continues to be the front door for Children’s Services and who you should contact if you need to tell us about a child you are concerned about. To make a referral: CFCS referral form or contact 0208 770 6001 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm) or 020 8770 5000 out of hours.
Early Help support and services have returned to normal in regards to receiving referrals and providing support. Face to face visits are being offered where it is safe to do so, where this is not safe we will provide phone and online support.
We continue to deliver support for children at risk of harm and in need of help and protection. Face-to-face visits are being offered to children and families and for those where it is still not possible to offer face-to-face visits we will continue to support via phone or video calls.
We continue to closely support all our foster carers, kinship carers and placement staff who are caring for our children in care.
We are monitoring all new safeguarding referrals to ensure that the Council and wider partnership, such as police and health, can respond quickly to any emerging trends/themes as necessary.
We continue to monitor the capacity of our workforce every day so that we can remain responsive to any increase in demands.
How we are working together to help children
The Sutton Local Safeguarding Children's Partnership are working together to ensure that all children and families in Sutton are kept safe and healthy during this period. Some examples of the support being offered is outlined below:
Schools/Early Years Settings
Education settings returned from the beginning of September for all pupils. School and college attendance is mandatory. This means that there’s a legal duty for parents and carers of compulsory school-age to send their child to school regularly.The decision made by government to reopen education settings this term related to a number of reasons including:
the declining prevalence of COVID-19 since the lockdown period
the NHS test and trace service that is now up and running
the growing understanding of the measures that need to be in place to create safer environments in school
Sutton’s schools and education settings have worked hard to prepare for opening in September and continue to work hard to keep schools as safe as possible. All schools have rigorous risk assessments in place that are regularly updated based on the latest context and Government guidance. For more information about COVID-19 and schools please click here.
School Nurses & Health Visitors
The duty helpline continues for any parent seeking support from their Health Visitor. There is also a Facebook page offering updates of services available in the area and up to date health promotion information.
The School Nurse duty telephone contact number for parents/carers is 020 8770 5409 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm). The telephone number for young people is 020 8770 5409 (Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm)
Alternatively there is an email address where enquiries from children, young people and families can be sent: firstname.lastname@example.org. This account is monitored Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm. There is also the School Nurse Instagram page “Sutton School Nursing Service” which is updated with health information, activities and signposting to other services.
Health Visitors and School Nurses have returned to face to face contacts with clear assessment of risk prior to any contact to ensure the safety of all concerned. Full PPE is being used where necessary. School Nurses are liaising with schools and undertaking safeguarding contacts and confidential drop ins for young people with emotional and mental health difficulties to offer ongoing support and signpost to appropriate agencies including those from the voluntary sector. Liaison is ongoing with the Designated Safeguarding Leads in schools.
Domestic Abuse Services
The Sutton Domestic Abuse One Stop Shop drop-in is fully open every Wednesday morning. Our Independent Domestic Abuse Advisers (IDVAs) are available to offer face-to-face support and guidance to help you at Sutton Baptist Church, 21 Cheam Road, Sutton SM1 1SN on Wednesday mornings from 9.30am-11.30am.
The drop-in sessions will be conducted with COVID-19 safety measures in place (observing social distancing; ensuring that hand washing facilities are available).
If you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, or if you are worried about your own behaviour, support is available. Contact Transform on 020 8092 7569 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm) or email email@example.com.
In an emergency, always dial 999.
Further information and help can be found at notaloneinsutton.org.uk. You are not alone and help is available
Resources to help you
There are lots of different resources and guidance online, sometimes it can feel difficult to know what to search for. We have worked with partners across the voluntary sector in Sutton and shortlisted some of the favourite online resources to support families. You can access them here
The Government has issued advice to parents and carers on keeping children safe from abuse and harm
The Children’s Commissioner for England has also helpfully put together a page of information and resources for children, educators and parents/carers to help during COVID-19
Homestart also has further information and resources for families
If you need further support or advice
You may be anxious about what might happen in the event of you falling unwell. We recommend planning ahead, with family and friends, if possible, to consider the support you could get from the people that your child trusts and knows, as and when you may need it.
If you have immediate concerns about your child’s safety please call the Children’s First Contact Service on 020 8770 6001 who can assist you.
The Sutton Carers Centre remains open and is offering advice and information to carers and young carers during this time. For further information on what support they can offer, please see their webpage for more information or call them on 020 8296 5611.
If you need help with your wider needs, please fill in our request support form and a member of our Community Hub will contact you. You can complete the form at any time. You can find out further information on our How to ask for Help page.