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MiCLU, ECPAT UK, Shpresa Programme, Young Roots and 17 other charities have asked the Children’s Commissioner to investigate failings to children and young people in the Covid-19 crisis.

In our letter to Anne Longfield, we highlight the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 lockdown on looked after children and young people seeking asylum, including those who have been trafficked.

Restrictions imposed to control the Covid-19 pandemic have meant a sudden withdrawal of much of the support that the children and young people rely on for their physical, emotional and psychological health and well-being.

Our letter highlights failures by the government to respond to the grave issues facing this group of children and young people, including failures to arrange access to education, failure to mitigate the increased risk of late payments of support, and failure to ensure regular (or any) contact with an allocated social worker or key worker.

Examples include one young person discharged from an inpatient psychiatric unit and thought to have Covid-19, who was too ill to care for himself and left without support. Another young person with apparent undiagnosed cognitive delay was unable to cook for himself, and during lockdown he ate only biscuits for two days until a charity delivered shopping to his accommodation.

Children and young people who are alone, afraid, lacking in the resources to meet their basic needs and unable to access mental health support are vulnerable to going missing and facing exploitation and abuse.

We call on the Children’s Commissioner to use her statutory powers to listen to children and young people, investigate failures in responses to their needs at this time, and advocate for a better response to safeguard and promote their welfare.

Read the full letter here.