About our campaign
NYAS is calling on UK and Welsh Governments to act swiftly to protect the rights of young people during the COVID-19 response.
We are campaigning, with the support of over forty other charities and organisations in our sector, to ensure the protection and support of care-experienced children and young people is a priority at this time.
We submitted open letters addressed to the UK and Welsh Government on the 27th of March. With signatories from across the sector, we called for:
- Access to technology for care-experienced children and young people
- Access to independent remote advocacy for children and young people living in accommodation not subject to checks, and those within a mental health setting.
- Access to technology for care-experienced children and young people, as well as those with parent contact arrangements.
- For care-experienced children and young people to have clear information about rights and entitlements championed by the Children’s Commissioner.
- The offer of an independent Return Interview to any care-experienced child or young person that goes mission, and the avoidance of criminalisation.
- Commitment to do everything possible in assessing the needs of care-experienced young people moving to adult care.
- For English Department for Education and Welsh Government to set out measures to safeguard children and young people living in unregulated accommodation during the crisis.
In Wales, NYAS Cymru is working closely with the Welsh Government, the Education Committee and Children’s Commissioner to protect children and young people during COVID-19. We have produced a detailed report into the effect of COVID-19 on care-experienced children and young people across Wales.
In England, we received a response to our open letter from the Minister for Children and Families on 22nd April, providing reassurance that protecting vulnerable children continues to be the UK Government’s top priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read the full letter here.
#ScrapSI445 – NYAS are campaigning for the withdrawal of the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations.
You can read our letter to the UK Government calling for the law’s withdrawal here. NYAS’ Head of Policy, in their role as co-chair of the Alliance for Children in Care and Care Leavers, has also written to the Children’s Minister setting out deep concerns on behalf of 40+ organisations across the sector.
On the 24th April a new statutory instrument (SI 445) came into force in England – the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020. You can view the statutory instrument in full here. NYAS has been campaigning against the new legislation as it undermines many of the safeguards that exist to protect care-experienced children and young people from harm. We were not informed of any changes despite our ongoing correspondence with Government or the statutory provision we provide as a charity.
The amendments now mean that:
- An independent six-month review for each child in care during COVID-19 is no longer mandatory.
• Social workers no longer have to check in with children in care every six weeks, but instead should do so ‘as soon as reasonably practicable.’
• The requirement for an adoption or fostering panel has been removed.
• Decisions of whether foster placements are suitable are now based on the assessment of providers, many of whom are private organisations with a profit-motive for placing children with carers.
These changes affect the rights of tens of thousands of children and young people currently living in care.
NYAS has also written to the Education Committee, Shadow Minister for Children and Early Years, Children’s Commissioner for England, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson and Statutory Instruments Select Committee, asking if they will join the campaign for this legislation to be withdrawn.
Can you help us campaign against Statutory Instrument 445?
Write to your local MP: We need to build pressure on the UK government for them to withdraw SI 445 and uphold the rights of children and young people. Please use our letter template to write to your local MP and tell them why this matters to you.
Sign up to the children’s sector call: As part of the sector-wide campaign #ScrapSI445, if you are associated with the children’s social care sector, please sign up to our call for the withdrawal of Statutory Instrument 445.
Need support now?
Our Freephone National Helpline offers advice, information and signposting as well as allocating independent advocates.
Call us on 0808 808 1001 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you, or someone you know, needs support.