E1 – Five pieces of current legislation:
Human Rights Act 1998
United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child 1989 Children Act 1989
Children Act 2004
Disability Discrimination Act 1995
E2 – Each piece of legislation has affected the protection and the rights of children and their families in settings, as different policies and procedures stem from all of them.
“The Human Rights Act 1998 came in to force in October 2000 and had a big impact on current legislation in UK.” (Tassoni. P, 2007, pg. 115) Although this Act was not created specifically for the protection of children, It does ensure that children have the same rights as adults, for example the right to dignity. It also ensures they are given respect and fairness in the way they're treated. This led to settings not being able to use any type of 'physical punishment', like slapping or caning despite gaining the parent's consent to do so or not because it is seen as a violation to a child's right as it is degrading.
The United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child 1989 was also signed by the UK as an addition to The Human Right Act 1998 as it gives children under the age of 18 their own set of rights. This particular piece of legislation was separated into five separate strands; reinforcing the importance of fundamental human dignity; highlighting and defending the family's role in children's lives; making sure children are respected; supporting the principle of not discriminating children; as well ensuring that the legal framework of the UK complies with the Convention.
Within this piece of legislation are many articles which focus on difference parts of children's rights, but there are a specific few that have an impact on practice. For example: Article 2 – which talks about the right to be protected against any discrimination – means that practitioners have to treat all children fairly and settings must give equal opportunities; Article 3 – says that the best interest of the child should always be considered in actions where they are concerned – this means that practitioners have to ensure the child has the care they needs and that all their needs are being met, whether the practitioner agrees with the way it's done; Article 12 – states that children have a right to express their views freely, and be listened to – which means that all children's opinions, likes, dislikes etc. are taken into consideration at all times; Article 13 – Talks about children having freedom of expression and exchange of information regardless of frontiers – this means children should be able to ask questions and be answered with things that concern them; and Article 28 – A child has the right to education with a view to achieving – which is why children in the UK from the age of around 5 must attend some kind of educational setting.
Another piece of legislation used in the UK is the Children Act 1989 which was created after the UNCRC was adopted, it was made to bring other pieces of legislation together into one Act, but this meant that it covered a wide range of things from child protection to the inspection of settings to parental responsibilities. As a result of this act settings now have to make sure they view parents as partners as they are the child's main carer and have a right to know and help with their child's development, this is done by regularly updating the parents and sharing all information. It also stated that the welfare of the child is paramount and that children and young people's views should always be taken into consideration during any decision making about their future care within all settings.
After the Children Act 1989 came the Children Act 2004 which was made as an addition and provided for a children's commissioner as well as allowing the government to ensure that the 'Every Child Matters' scheme had a legal framework to go with it. This scheme is now used through out...