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Over the last weeks, ESN and its members have highlighted the difficulty that the COVID 19 pandemic is causing in protecting and supporting the most vulnerable. Amongst those at particular risk are children and families, especially those children who are not living with their parents or family, children with disabilities and autist children. To address these needs, the Ville de Paris, Direction de l’Action Sociale, de l’Enfance et de la Santé, launched a toolkit for professionals working with children and families, which was developed by the I’Observation parisien de protection de l’enface. The toolkit aims to respond to the needs of both parents, carers and professionals working with children and their families through the provision of materials and resources. The toolkit has 6 sections, which are described below. Each section is packed with resource materials and links to other sites. For further information go to the confinement toolkit.

I. Ongoing education during confinement

On the 19th March the Ministry for Solidarity and Health recommended that schools must bring "school to home" for all children, but with increased attention for those children who may already be facing academic difficulties. The recommendation went on to state that should problems arise in undertaking this task, the local authorities for educational services must be notified, as well as the local council. These two institutions should coordinate to identify responses adapted to the specific needs of these children.

The Ministry for Education also support these actions though its recommendations which looks to support remote learning for all children through guiding the actions of schools.

II. Maintaining remote links with family

In the context of confinement, and for those children not living with parents for any reason, physical links with families are more constrained. In order to maintain ties despite the conditions caused by confinement, several tools can be made available to children and their families in order to organise exchanges between parents and children and thus preserve ties during this period. The following are just a quick insight into the tools available such as telephone calls and video calls.

III. Psychologically support for children during confinement

Parents and carers who care for children who require psychological support are affected acutely by the pandemic and confinement. The toolkit offers parents and carers with psychological support guidelines and resources which can be accessed online. The support measures cover a number of syndromes throughout the autist spectrum such as ADHD.

IV. Talking about confinement, the epidemic and hygiene rules for children and adolescents

Explaining confinement, the epidemic and the strict hygiene rules to be followed can be confusing for children. To support parents and carers the toolkit lists a number of child and youth friendly resource from Agencies such as UNICEF, the confinement and what actions we can undertake to stop it spreading. The resources cover a range of ages from 3 – 6 years up until the late teens. Moreover, resources also address children with disabilities and other complex needs to help them understand the current situation.

V. Undertake physical exercise during confinement

Within the toolkit, the Ministry of Sports, with the assistance of the National Observatory for Physical Activity and Sedentary Lifestyle, offers recommendations and advice that is simple to put into practice to maintain regular physical activity. It recommends that children get at least an hour of physical exercise a day.  Like other sections, a range of groups of children are covered as well as guidelines on how to stay physically active.

VI. Undertake activities during confinement

This section of the toolkit covers a range of activities for children of all ages and abilities to undertake at home. From constructing musical instruments to undertaking scientific experiments, the section offers step by step guidance on how these activities can be done using household items.