CENTRAL DEVON MP Mel Stride is raising awareness for a new service which launched this week by Barnados to support vulnerable children and young people who may have found themselves even more at-risk during the coronavirus pandemic. ‘See, Hear, Respond’, funded by the Department for Education, aims to provide early intervention before children reach the threshold for statutory intervention. It does not aim to replace the usual referral process for children who meet the statutory threshold for significant harm. Barnados says it will contact every referral made to them and will then provide help which may include helping children and young people reintegrate back into school, online counselling and therapy, or face-to-face support for the most serious cases.

Mr Stride said:

“Local authorities have a statutory obligation to protect at-risk children but there may be children struggling emotionally or with mental health issues as a result of the pandemic who may not meet the threshold for support. It is very good to see the Department for Education funding this excellent initiative from Barnados and I would encourage anyone concerned about a child or young person to visit for more information. Their helpline number is 0800 157 7015.”

The MP stressed though that if you think that a child is in immediate danger of being harmed, you should call 999. If you have concerns about a child’s health or wellbeing, you can report it anonymously to Devon’s Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub on 0345 155 1071.