Duty of care is a requirement to exercise reasonable care, attention and caution to avoid negligence which would lead to the harm of other people.
‘The fundamental obligation that anyone working in child care, whatever the type of service and whatever their role, is to keep children safe.’ (Marilyn Hopkins LLB, Dip.Ed.. (March 2006). DUTY OF CARE. Available: http://www.rch.org.au/emplibrary/ecconnections/CCH_Vol9_No1_March2006.pdf last accessed 26/10/11)
It is generally accepted that people in authority have a responsibility for those in their charge. Therefore practitioners in childcare settings owe a duty of care to the children in their care. They are seen as experts and children and young people rely on their carers to ensure they are cared for properly. A duty of care also extends to the parents, as they too expect practitioners to use their knowledge and expertise to care for their children properly.
It is also relevant that in childcare settings, because of a child’s limited ability to care for themselves, a very meticulous and comprehensive duty of care is owed to the children. More so to an infant than a school aged child due to the differences in their ability to provide for their own needs, look after themselves and their awareness of danger.
Duty of care in a childcare setting is keeping children and young people safe, protecting them not only from physical harm but also emotional and sexual harm. It is guarding the rights of a child as they have the right to independence and be treated with respect and dignity. This extends to respecting the rights, cultural beliefs and values of the parents and family. The Children Act 1989 ‘Its dominant principle was that the child’s welfare should be the major consideration in any decision relating to upbringing; it is assumed that upbringing is normally best within the child’s own family’ (Children and young people’s workforce... [continues]
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