Outline Current Legislation Affecting the Safeguarding of Children and Young People

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“Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as: •protecting children from maltreatment
preventing impairment of children’s health or development •ensuring children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care. “ (Dept for Education www.education.gov.uk)

There are numerous laws and guidelines in place which aim to protect children from harm, and promote their health and wellbeing. The need for improved legislation has been highlighted by high-profile cases, such as the death of Maria Colwell in 1973 and, more recently, Victoria Climbié in 2000. These cases shocked the nation and showed weaknesses in procedures. These policies are constantly reviewed and amended so it is important to keep up to date with these changes. The Children Act 1989

This Act identifies the responsibilities of parents and professionals who must work to ensure the safety of the child. This Act includes two important sections which focus specifically on child protection. Section 47 states that the Local Authority has ‘a duty to investigate when there is a reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm’. Section 17 states that services must be put into place to ‘safeguard and promote the welfare of children within the area who are in need’. The Education Act 2002

This outlines the role of Local Education Authorities (LEAs), governing bodies, head teachers and all those working in schools to ensure that children are safe and free from harm.

The Children Act 2004
This is not a replacement of the Children Act 1989. This provides the legal framework for Every Child Matters and sets out the process for providing services in a way which allows every child to achieve the five outcomes of Every Child Matters (described below). It requires local authorities to lead multi-agency children’s trusts, to develop a children and young people’s plan, and to set up a shared database...
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