Policy and Practie for Children and Young People

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Policy and
Practice for Children and Young People

Discuss the ideology underpinning policy and practice for children and young people and demonstrate an awareness of constructs of childhood and adolescence from either an educational or care perspective.

“The idea of belonging and membership, being part of a community, is a basic human need. It’s one of the principles of our democratic society. We all have the same needs, we want to be loved, we want to have friends, we want to feel that we are making a contribution in our families, in our communities….We learn about understanding what someone’s interests and point of view are by interacting with them. To include everyone is to open up those possibilities for learning and appreciating our humanity.” Gookin, J (2012). Every Child Matters 2004, (ECM) is a Government initiative for England and Wales which was launched in 2002 following the death of Victoria Climbie. It has been the title of three Government papers, leading to the Children Act 2004. In the past it has been argued that children and families have received poorer services because of the failure of professionals to understand each other's roles or to work together effectively in a multi-disciplinary manner. ECM was brought in to influence changes to this, stressing that it is important that all professionals working with children are aware of the contribution that could be made by their own and each other's service and to plan and deliver their work with children and young people accordingly. This paper will discuss ideas behind ECM and demonstrate awareness of constructs of childhood in an educational setting. A look into the history of childhood shows, however, that childhood is constructed differently in different times and places. Class, religion, labor, gender, race, politics, and education shape the way in which children experience life. Phillipe Aries (1960) is a French Historian who argued that in the Middle Ages, the idea of childhood did not exist. Aries believed children were weaned, however once they passed the stage of being physically dependent on their parents they were to be seen as adults. Children began to work at an early age and were often seen as ‘mini adults’. This meant children had the same rights, duties and skills as adults. Aries insisted that the modern idea of childhood came about after the thirteenth century and that the law made no distinction between children and adults, with children facing severe punishments. This thesis was widely accepted and built upon as this fitted with the prevailing view of the distant past. This was when society was viewed as a cruel and unpleasant place. Lloyd De Mause (1974) stated that the history of childhood is a ‘nightmare from which we have only just begun to awaken’. De Mause also adds that the further back in history goes the lower the level of childcare and children are more likely to be beaten, terrorized, abandoned, sexually abused or even killed. To add to this Lawrence Stone (1977) was perhaps the most eminent historian of the family in this period and he stated his view by arguing that the very high mortality rates among children in the past until very recently meant, that parents could not ‘ invest emotional capital’ in their children. As a result, Stone (1977) argued that parents did not show affection for their children and consequently avoided the worst emotional damage that such attachment would inevitably involve if or when the child died, Zwozdiak-Myers, P (2007). However, it was not long before other historians began to challenge the view of attitudes towards children and their childhood as a state. Early in the 1980’s Linda Pollock harshly criticized all arguments made by Aries, De Mause and Stone. Pollock argued that childhood experiences were not as grim as it had earlier been suggested and strongly denies that there were any fundamental changes in the way parents viewed or reared their children in this period of time....
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