Guidance for families during COVID-19 outbreak
This is an unprecedented, uncertain and testing time for all of us due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It is particularly challenging for children and young people with SEND, their families, and those who work tirelessly to support and care for them.
If you or your family receive services, as far as possible, we intend to continue to deliver services where they are needed. We have advised those staff who are able to, to work from home, but to continue to stay in contact with you. This means that whilst our offices will continue to remain open at the moment, they will be running on skeleton teams.
If you have any concerns for either yourself or your family, please do contact your worker directly or their manager if they are not available.
Temporary changes to the law on Early Health Care Plans and assessments
The Department for Education has announced changes to two areas of legislation relating to Education Health and Care needs assessments and Education Health and Care Plans, which came into force on 1 May 2020. The changes have been put in place because of the challenges that we are all facing as a result of COVID-19 (coronavirus). They relate to:
- timescales for conducting Education Health and Care needs assessments and for drafting Education Health and Care Plans. These changes will be in place until 25 September 2020.
- the extent to which the provision within an Education Health and Care Plan can be arranged during this period of uncertainty. This change is only in place until 31 May at the moment.
For more information visit the government website.
While these temporary changes allow local authorities to take longer to complete an assessment or to draft a plan if the reason for this is related to coronavirus, in Kent we are putting in place every measure possible so that this situation doesn’t adversely impact timescales. We might do this work differently than we did in the past, for example have more conversations over the phone or via video link rather than face to face meetings.
Temporary changes in provision
The change to this part of the law, which is in place until 31 May 2020, gives local authorities, health providers and educational settings the flexibility to vary the provision in your child’s Education, Health and Care Plan. Any changes made to your child’s plan will be based on whether, for example, your child’s school is open and what staffing and resources are available to the school, including those supplied by other services, for example speech and language therapy.
Letters for families
- letter to families from Matt Dunkley, Corporate Director, Children, Young People (PDF, 43.6 KB)
- open letter from Vicky Ford MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families (PDF, 326.2 KB).
Information and support for parents and carers
- Check our service updates page to find out how Kent County Council services have been affected.
- Read our information about looking after the mental health and wellbeing of your family, which includes guidance for parents and carers.
- There are lots of social isolation resources on the IASK website.
- Use a social story about coronavirus.
- Follow Kent PACT on Facebook.
- The Positive Approaches to Support website is for families who care for children, young people or adults with a learning disability or developmental difficulty (including those who are autistic).
There is information about what you can and can't do on the GOV.UK website, which includes the reasons you can leave the house. It includes specific guidance for if you need to go out to exercise more than once a day or travel because of a specific health need.