Below you can download briefings on the issues frontline practitioners have seen arising for children and children's services since the start of the Coronavirus lockdown. Responses are gathered through a simple form issued regularly by the children's charities involved in this joint project. 

You can help us to collect evidence on how Covid-19 is affecting frontline children's service providers by completing or sharing the evidence form. If your organisation would like to be involved in the project, please contact Hannah Chetwynd at The Children's Society.  

All briefings have been shared with government officials, and recently with parliamentarians.


Thanks to colleagues at The Children's Society for this chart summarising the top seven issues raised by frontline staff in our form over 2020:

Chart - top 6 issues arising in frontline children


Latest briefings: 2021, third national lockdown

Lists under each download link indicate the main themes and findings in each set of responses.

Briefing February 2021

  • A year on, issues remain unresolved and taking a huge toll
  • Professionals can't build up a picture of children's wellbeing
  • Staff and pupils are anxious about whether school is safe, and what is happening outside the school gates
  • There is too much pressure on schools to be the main 'eyes' on children and make all referrals
  • Remote learning remains inconsistent and children still lack digital devices
  • Children's wellbeing and self-confidence is being severely eroded
  • Mental health and wellbeing services are too stretched to provide help when it's needed
  • Organisational sustainability is under threat, and government guidance and funding is inadequate

Late 2020 briefings: issues arising as schools re-opened to the majority of children 

Briefing November 2020

  • A lack of clarity about school health and safety
  • Need for greater recognition of the impact of traumatic experiences on pupils
  • Concern about the availability of specialist support in schools
  • Lack of available services to support declining mental health and well-being

Briefing November 2020 (focussed on the return to school)

This briefing includes case studies of services provided by School Home Support and The Children's Society

  • Safety in school
  • Pupil mental health and pressure on support services
  • Challenges in providing additional support in school

Briefing December 2020

  • Young people are still not getting the support they need
  • School is not the right place for all children just now
  • Long- and short-term impact on children and young people's mental health
  • The impact on refugee and asylum seeking children and families
  • Commissioning issues

Earlier briefings: issues arising during the first lockdown of 2020

Lists under each download link indicate the main themes arising in responses.

Briefing 1 (23rd April 2020)

  • Reaching children and young people
  • Government guidance and information
  • Funding and the future
  • Emerging issues including poverty, PPE and mental health

Briefing 2 (1st May 2020)

  • Supporting children and young people with complex needs
  • Digital challenges
  • Workforce

Briefing 3 (12th May 2020, focussed on mental health)

  • The changing mental health needs of children and young people
  • The role of schools
  • Mental health information and support
  • Adapting to digital support
  • Privacy and confidentiality
  • Funding mental health provision

Briefing 4 (21st May 2020)

  • Vulnerable young people not in school
  • Digital access
  • Stretched resources
  • Service thresholds
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Transitioning out of lockdown

Briefing 6 (25th June 2020)

  • Pre-existing structural issues
  • Barriers to accessing support including transport, digital and lack of signposting
  • The return to school