Why is knowledge of the law important to children, young people and families and to those who work with them?
This essay will discuss the law and the government’s present policies relating to the issue of children’s rights and protection. Aspects of the law, which are passed by Parliament as legislations then have to be interpreted by the Local Authorities so they can formulate policies for those who work with children young people and families. The Children Act 1989 and Every Child Matters are two of many policies which have been introduced. It will also look into how such regulations relate to working with children, young people and families. As well as looking at the development of government initiatives, it will also explore the importance of knowledge of the law to children, young people and families, as well as some key concepts of the law such as ‘best interest’ where those working in this area concentrate on the prime concerns of the child or young person.
The British government currently has a comprehensive child welfare system under which all local authorities have duties and responsibilities towards children and young people within their community of care, which is designed in a way that advises practice changes and sets the standards of which to follow (K218, Learning Guide 11, Section 3). Not only has this laid the foundations for many of the features which can be seen in current legislation today, it has also formed the progress of social values and the major influence of these upon society as a whole. Therefore within early twentieth century welfare policy there has been a major change in the way in which the British government recognizes that the needs of children, young people and their families need to be addressed.
So with this in mind, the British government have become increasingly aware of developing such policies that remain particularly focused upon areas that impact on the welfare of children, young people and their families. Therefore leading to the development of polices such as the Children Act of 1989 (K218, Learning Guide 11, Section 3), which provides a framework for all those who work with children and young people. It has transformed the rights of children and young people within law as it has introduced new concepts relating to the responsibilities of adults and changed the structure and functioning of the courts. Therefore the authority should make enquiries that they consider necessary to enable them to decide whether they should take any action to safeguard or promote the child’s welfare.
Thus it is vital that practitioners have basic knowledge of the Children Act 1989, to be able to safeguard themselves and children, young people and families that they work with. “It is important for those who work with children and families to have a clear understanding of the difference between legislation (i.e. issued by the government) and interpretations of legislation (i.e. in the form of policies)” (K218,Learning guide 11, section 3). Without such knowledge practitioners are not able to challenge poor or even unlawful practice. If a practitioner has some knowledge of the law they are able to offer practical advice to those they work with as well as being aware of the legal options and consequences in each given situation, thus being able to work most effectively. When working with children, young people and families the law will shape and control practice in different ways, to help do this, new policies have been put in place.
To achieve this re-organization of all children services new initiatives were put in place with the hope that they would change the approach to ways of delivering front line services with in all child care services. One of the developments with in this area has been the creation of the Every Child Matters group of policy documents (Foley, 2011), which the government published in 2003. This initiative was developed in response to the death...
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