Coram CEO says safety of vulnerable children must remain a priority following government's announcement of school closures

Published: Thursday 19th March 2020

Coram CEO, Dr Carol Homden spoke to BBC Radio Kent this morning (Thursday 19 March 2020), following the Prime Minister's announcement yesterday that all schools, colleges and nurseries across the country will close indefinitely from tomorrow, with an exception for children of key workers and vulnerable children, including those who have a social worker and those with special educational needs.

 
Speaking to presenter Julia George, Dr Homden said that the first concern should be to ensure that all children are safe, as "many children depend upon the meal they have at school and the safety they have at school to ensure their wellbeing." She has urged everyone to make sure they are helping out to ensure that vulnerable children have eyes on them by those of us that can possibly help and care.
 
Dr Homden also highlighted the importance of recognising that for some families these terrible circumstances we face are even more acutely difficult, and that therefore we all need to take collective responsibility in our own communities for all our children.
 
She says that in our local community networks, in our housing estates and on our local streets we need to make sure that we are watching out for each other and making sure that there aren't any children that go hungry and that there aren't any children who are at risk of violence. And at a time when county councils will be doing everything that they possibly can to prioritise frontline child protection, organisations such as Coram will be doing all that they can to help them:
 
"Britain is fortunate in the infrastructure and quality of the services we have around vulnerable children and this is the time when we need to dig deep and we need to make sure that all the skills that can possibly be deployed are being deployed.
 
"I urge parents to think about the ways in in which they can really make sure that children can have the best possible routine. Children need structure and  learning opportunities, we cannot allow this generation of children to have their lives and educations blighted. If we are in the lives of children we need to make sure that we are helping them manage their anxiety and making it clear that we can help."
 
Lastly, Dr Homden has addressed those who are fit and no longer work as social workers, health workers or those who have a DBS check to listen out to calls for help as "there will come a moment when that is a really important ingredient in the community response."
 
You can listen to the full interview here from 1:46:15 and you can read the government's announcement on school closures here.