Social services are needed to navigate the uncharted territory of a global pandemic like Covid-19 to support individuals and communities, identify what community resources become available, help with grief and trauma, ensure that people have access to basic needs, and support the recovery process.
Designating social services as ‘essential’ is crucial:
- To ensure access to protective equipment
Declaring social services as essential services means that professionals working in social services need to have access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and be able to undertake their statutory duties such as helping a child who may be in foster care, providing support to families, or visiting people who are cared for at home.
- To ensure better resource allocation
Being considered essential services, makes it easier to allocate care or social workers to where they are needed the most, provide flexibility for public authorities to set up longer shifts if needed or reorganising work to respond to emergency situations.
- To maintain and adapt the operations of social services centres
Local social services centres represent a widespread safety net across Europe. Maintaining and adapting their operations as an essential service is very important to continue to support those they serve, and that professionals are provided with the necessary equipment to safeguard their safety and the safety of people using the service.