First and foremost, I would like to recognise and thank the parents and carers who have worked with us in this past year through the most challenging of circumstances.
The strength and commitment they have shown, to work through the difficulties that life can present and to make lives better for the children and young people they love and care for has been amazing.
I would also like to recognise and thank our staff in Worcestershire Children First and across the Safeguarding Partnership who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic. That commitment and passion is never unnoticed or undervalued.
Our children and young people have now returned to school and settings, and I am truly inspired by the resilience and positivity in managing change shown by them and by the education providers.
We are seeing now the results of many hours and days of planning, partnership working, positivity, care and commitment. They have made a significant transition from home-schooling back to the classroom look so simple.
I have heard many positive accounts of the return to school, but I know this isn’t easy for many others and it is essential we continue to identify who they are and support them in making that return. I know we will see the benefits in outcomes for our children and young people for weeks, months and years to come.
I know those working with our most vulnerable children will be feeling hopeful and anxious at this time. As the normal routines of life open up so do the opportunities for our partners, family members, friends and the communities, to ‘see’ and 'hear’ those children. We need their support, their eyes and their ears to truly understand what the lived experience of our vulnerable children has been through the pandemic and we need to re-establish for them their ‘trusted adults’.
As we move beyond the grip of the pandemic, our services continue and our mission remains the same, to do all we can to make children happy, healthy and safe.
So, on this day of reflection I have taken a reflective glance back but really, I’m looking forward to all we can and will do.
Interim Director of Children’s Services for Worcestershire County Council
Chief Executive of Worcestershire Children First