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Perspectives From the Field: The Potential Limitations of Video-Only Service Provision

March 2, 2021

A Child Protection worker in Saskatchewan has noticed the difficulties that COVID-19 projects. With not being able to make routine home visits, the service provider is concerned for the children they serve as virtual communications are only able to reveal a limited amount about the child’s home situation.

“It is now becoming evident that with us not being able to see children in the home that there have been flaws and more incidents being found in the caregiver’s home that have been missed due to only seeing children over video. It is extremely difficult to assess the children’s abilities and safety as often children are not engaging with videos and would rather be playing. Therefore, a majority of our job and contacts [are] based on what is being told to us and the little we can assess through video,” the service provider explained.

Neglect of children has been increasing with lack of supervision. The service provider has expressed that this has led to feelings of guilt as COVID-19 prevents service providers from visiting homes as often as they would like to.

“I’ve experienced a lot of guilt when discovering caregivers have neglected to bring kids to doctors or express concerns to myself. Emotionally I feel super drained as often I can not arrange visits due to covid which upsets children and parents,” said the service provider.

Although virtual visitations are not ideal as the only means of communicating with families, the service provider noted that advancing their video communication has been beneficial as an additional way to communicate with families and check-in on children when they are sick or unable to have an in-person visit.

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