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More behavioural problems since pandemic

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
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More behavioural problems since pandemic

CHILDREN are developing behavioural issues at an earlier age in Dumfries and Galloway – and many have missed out on early education – as a direct result of the turbulent past two years.

Social work chiefs have also admitted that they are struggling to get youngsters to return to school and settle in the aftermath of the pandemic.

This news comes a week after council education colleagues revealed that fewer pupils are turning up to class in the region and more youngsters are being excluded from school.

The council’s family support team have been doing early intervention work to support vulnerable children and try to keep families together.

Stephen Morgan, a senior manager with the council’s children and families section, has produced a report for on the arising education problems for the social work committee on October 4.

He wrote: “Our families are still feeling the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and will do for many years to come. This, together with the cost-of-living crisis, means more families are becoming overwhelmed with the challenges they currently face.

“We are struggling to get some children to engage with school, and some children are finding it very difficult to return to the structured setting of school.

“Many younger children have missed out on early education, socialisation and the safety and structure the school day provides for them, this has impacted on their behaviour in school now, with our primary schools seeing difficult behaviour in much younger children than previous.”

In total, 156 children in 95 families are being supported, with an additional 23 children in 17 families that the team are in the process of starting to work with.

Parents are given support in setting appropriate rules and boundaries, and assistance to understand the benefits of structures within the home. Stephen Morgan continued: “Children’s behaviour can become difficult to manage when they have not had good, consistent structures in place.

“A significant number of families have struggled to maintain their homes to an acceptable standard for a variety of reasons including poor mental health, often impacted upon by domestic abuse, poverty, and isolation, with a number of our families impacted by drug and alcohol.

“We have been helping families to develop their wider networks of support within their families, friends, and communities so that progress continues, and changes are embedded in their day to day lives, together with making the relevant links to ensure universal and community resources is accessible and available.”

Staff are also currently undertaking theraplay training to help rebuild strained relationships between parents and children focusing on play, nurture, and love.

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