Background: The coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on the situation and well-being of children and their families, while simultaneously affecting the ability of welfare services for children and youth to support vulnerable families . As measures of contact restrictions were introduced to contain the virus, and schools and childcare facilities closed, the potential risk to child welfare could hardly be overlooked .
Objectives: Focusing on Germany, this article aims to explore some of the effects of the COVID-19 measures on children and families . Furthermore, it examines a number of key challenges for child protection practitioners . These include identifying potential cases of child maltreatment without the support normally provided by teachers and child carers; and establishing and maintaining contact with clients under physical distancing rules .
Methods: The article is based on a review of German and English language scientific and journalistic articles, position papers from professional associations and other gray literature . It benefits from recently published (interim) results of empirical studies conducted in Germany, which explore child welfare issues in the pandemic . Conclusion: Under COVID-19, the child welfare system faces unprecedented challenges and uncertainty (e.g . (partial) loss of cooperation opportunities with key partners) whilst showing signs of remarkable resilience (e.g . child protection workers ’ ability to adjust to new conditions). While the potential of digitalising work processes in child protection has become apparent in the pandemic, the proven continuous face-to-face contact between practitioners and their clients is neither dispensable nor replaceable.