Duty of Care

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  • Topic: Law, Childhood, Children Act 1989
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  • Published : April 13, 2012
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Unit 054: Principles for implementing Duty of Care in Health, Social Care or Children’s and Young People’s settings

Outcome 1: Understand how duty of care contributes to safe practice

What it means to have a duty of care in my work role

A duty of care is a key concept in working with others. The term ‘duty of care’ includes the concepts:

To keep individuals safe
To keep individuals free from harm
To allow/give choice

Anyone working in a childcare setting, whatever the service or whatever their role, should understand that a duty of care is the fundamental obligation to keep children safe. The younger the child, the more vulnerable they are, therefore the greater the duty of care.

Within my role as a childcare practitioner at our Primary School, I understand that children and young people rely on staff to ensure they are properly cared for. Parents and families expect staff to use their expertise to care for their children appropriately.

As a childcare practitioner it is important to be vigilant at all times, keeping young people safe as they develop the following:

More robust immune systems as they grow and develop
The ability to cope with and foresee potential dangers
Communication skills, enabling children and young people to talk about the harm others may be doing to them •Empathy, which enables them to understand that their actions may hurt or upset others

How duty of care contributes to the safeguarding or protection of individuals

A duty of care contributes to safeguarding and protecting children and young people in many ways. This can include: •Having clear instructions and setting boundaries and expectations for all children and young people. This could greatly benefit a child or young person who has challenging behaviour as different strategies could be put in place, taking into account the age and stage of development of each child as an individual.

Understanding the way in which children may be abused by others, being aware of the signs that a child may be experiencing harm and following the appropriate procedures if abuse is suspected. This includes all staff having safeguarding and child protection training and knowing the policies and procedures within the setting. Also have a member of staff who is SENCO trained.

Carrying out regular risk assessments both inside and outside within the setting and taking precautions to avoid potential hazards which could cause a child or young person harm, either through accidents or spreading infection.

Observing children and young people and accessing their development can alert practitioners if their progress is not broadly expected for children of their age. Relevant action and help can then be taken in partnership with parents and other professionals.

Outcome 2: Know how to address conflicts or dilemmas that arise between an individual’s rights and the duty of care

The potential conflicts or dilemmas that may arise between the duty of care and an individual’s rights

Potential conflicts or dilemmas and individual’s rights involving children and young people could include:

Attitudes/behaviour
Abuse/taunting
Aggression and violence
Bullying and intimidation
Vandalism
Respecting others views and actions
Safety and security
Love and belonging
Education
Equality

All children and young people have rights, as set out in the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.

Within a childcare setting, there may be times when a duty of care seems to conflict with other principles, that of respecting the rights of the child, young person and their families. An example of this could be an issue relating to the duty of confidentiality involving a child, young person and their parents. As a childcare practitioner it is important to remember a balanced approach when deciding which has the greater priority in certain circumstances. An issue may arise which would normally...
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