Coram engages with policy makers during Covid-19 pandemic
Coram has been influential in the debate around policies affecting vulnerable children and young people during the lockdown, and Coram experts have held a number of meetings with members of the Government and Opposition keen to draw on our expertise.
Last week, our CEO Dr Carol Homden and the Head of Coram Family and Childcare Megan Jarvie held an introductory meeting with the new Shadow Education Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, focusing primarily on the challenges facing the early years and childcare sector, and also covering the impact of the current situation on care leavers and migrant children, who face heightened challenges.
Earlier in the month, Megan also took part in a round table hosted by Tulip Siddiq MP, Shadow Children’s Minister, aimed at highlighting the pressures currently faced by the childcare sector. The key issue was funding for childcare providers, and particularly resolution of the current issues around funding for early years entitlements and the government’s job retention scheme. There was also discussion on how the sector be supported to move out of lockdown, given that the anticipated phased return means providers are likely to be encouraged to open and operate below full capacity when that happens, making it hard for them to break even.
Finally, CoramBAAF’s John Simmonds joined other foster sector leaders to meet with the new children’s minister Vicky Ford MP, with the focus largely on the foster care sector and the challenges presented by the public health measures currently in place to combat the spread of Covid-19. John and his colleagues highlighted the importance of foster care, and the need to retain existing foster carers, ensuring they have both adequate financial support in the short term and that the sector remains sustainable into the future post-lockdown. The minister confirmed that foster carers would be considered a priority group for Covid-19 testing and agreed to meet with foster carers to hear directly from them about their current situation.
We will continue this programme in the coming weeks. Carol is in contact with Education Secretary Gavin Williamson MP and the newly appointed Shadow Justice Secretary David Lammy MP – both of whom have visited the Coram campus in recent months - to provide them with relevant policy briefing and reaffirm our willingness to engage with them in current months.