1.1 Outline current legislation, guidelines, policies and procedures within own UK Home Nation affecting the safeguarding of children and young people.
The children’s Act 1989
The children’s act 1989 is a British act of parliament that changed the law concerning children; the law introduced the idea of ‘Parental responsibility’ i.e.
- The child’s requirements arising from race, culture, language and religion be taken into account.
- The best place for a child/young person was to be cared for was within their own home.
- If legal proceedings should occur then parents should continue to be involved with their children, even if the parents were separated or divorced.
- The welfare of a child should be promoted by a healthy partnership between the local authority and by family involved. The most important ruling of the children’s act was the welfare of the child and it should be regarded paramount by a court in any question of the child’s upbringing. The following checklist must take place by a court when making a decision about a child’s future;
- The wishes and feelings of the child/young person must be taken into consideration and that the child has a chance to expresses their concerns and opinions.
- The physical, emotional and the educational needs of a child be taken into thought - e.g. could it affect their education if removed from their family due to stress, this could also affect the child physically, losing weight due to unhappiness and upheaval in their lives. Emotionally a child/young person could feel frightened about being alone and separated from parents, the will almost certainly feel insecure and rejected about the transition they will have to make.
- Any harm that that the child has already suffered or is at risk of suffering if kept in his/hers present surroundings. The heart of the children’s act is to offer adequate safeguards to a child/young person who may be at risk and try to protect families and their children from being separated.
United Nations Convention (UNICEF)
in 1989 governments worldwide set out a pledge that all children should have the same rights. These rights were based on what a child needed to survive, grow and to fulfil their potential. They would be regarded the same no matter of who they were or where they came from. Human rights were founded on;
- reverence or worth of every individual under the age of 18, regardless of race, gender, language or religion.
- All organisations involved with children should work together in order to work towards what is best for that child.
- That all children have a right to a life and that government should make sure that a child survives and develops properly in order to reach their potential.
- A child should not be separated from their parents unless it is absolutely essential - e.g.; abuse or neglect. If the child has parent’s who are separated then the child should have the right to stay in contact with both parents unless this will cause harm and hurt to the child.
- Governments should take steps to stop a child/young person being illegally taken from their country by an abducting parent.
Every child matters.
Every child matters was a UK government initiative that was launched in 2003 after the death of Victoria Climbie. Every child matters cover children and young adults up to the age of 19. The aims of this initiative are for every child, whatever their background or circumstance, to have the support they need to;
- Be healthy; Physical, mental and emotional well being
- Stay safe; Protection from harm and neglect
- Enjoy and achieve; Education training and recreation
- Make a positive contribution; The contributions made by them to society
- Achieve economic well being; Social and economic well being Each of these themes has a framework attached that requires multi agency partnerships working together to achieve success i.e. early years, children’s social services and schools. In the past it was believed that children and families received poor services through lack of communication with the appropriate professionals involved. Every child matters changed this view by stressing that all professionals should be aware of the input that could be made by their own and each other’s service.
Working together to safeguard children
Working together to safeguard children is a government guideline which sets out how organisations and individuals should work together to safeguard and encourage the welfare of children and young people in agreement with ‘the children act 1989’ and ‘the children act 2004. Working together is designed for professionals who have particular responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. The key of this guideline is that professionals caring for young people must work together to improve children’s and young people’s lives. They must respect and listen to what children and young people have to say and involve all parties when making decisions.
Common assessment framework (CAF)
a common assessment framework is an approach taken when conducting an assessment of a child/young person’s needs and deciding how these needs should be met. All professionals involved with children have developed this for use so that they can communicate and work more effectively together. CAF supports early intervention by providing a guideline that enables professionals in specific services to assess the needs of a child/young person and to look for other services that can help. A CAF is essential for professionals to identify any sign that a child may be in need of extra support, to then assess that child’s needs and gather information for relevant agencies. A framework was designed to help local authorities to work alongside families to promote the upbringing of a child/young person. The children’s act provided frameworks for local authorities to develop effective strategies and policies in which to work. It can also be used for recording and sharing information to agencies and specialist services to use their resources where they are needed most.
1.2 Explain child protection within the wider concept of safeguarding children and young people.
Safeguarding is about protecting children and young people from more than just direct abuse. Any service that works with children and young people has a wider role than simply protecting them from neglect and abuse. The Staying Safe action plan recognises many important aspects in the wider view of safeguarding including;
- keeping children safe from accidents.
- Crime and bullying.
- forced marriages
- missing children.
- Actively promoting their welfare in a healthy and safe environment.
1.3 Analyse how national and local guidelines, policies and procedures for safeguarding affect day to day work with children and young people.
It is very important that anybody working with children should be able to recognise if a child is at risk of harm or in need because of their vulnerability. The earlier this is recognised, the better the outcome will be for the child involved. There are guidelines to follow to make sure that all of the services and agencies involved can work together to get the best outcome for the child and to improve their safeguarding. Any childcare practise will have clear policies and procedure that cover all aspects of safeguarding; this will include policies for,
- Health and safety.
- Child protection.
- contact with children and performing personal care.
- Visitors to the setting
Risk assessments must be carried out to make sure that there are no safeguarding threats to the children in a setting, premise’ need risk assessing, for example are there any entrances to the building that an unauthorised person could use, or could a child leave without anybody noticing.
1.4 Explain when and why inquiries and serious case reviews are required and how the sharing of the findings informs practice.
There is an important partnership in every feature of safeguarding, from government legislation to local guidelines on safeguarding. It is crucial that all agencies communicate and cooperate together to promote the safety and well being of children. In the framework of safeguarding we must establish and abide by guidelines and work within the law, especially in regard to the protection of children. In the event of a death or a child is suspected of being a victim of abuse or neglect, there will always be a serious case review. The local safeguarding children’s board (LSCB) will consider whether a review should be undertaken and whether there could be other children involved i.e. siblings. Subsequently organisations and agencies should consider whether there are lessons to be learnt from these cases, what these lessons are, how they can be acted on and what can be expected to change as a result, ultimately this will improve inter agency work and better safeguard for children and young people. The newest development to help agencies and professionals share information is the common assessment framework (CAF), this system enables multi agencies to access and add information about children.
1.5 Explain how the processes used by own work setting or service comply with legislation that covers data protection, information handling and sharing.
Sharing information is the solution to improving beneficial outcomes for all children. It is essential to facilitate early intervention and preventative work for safeguarding children. All professionals involved with children must know and understand what to do and the most effective ways of sharing information about children who are at risk of abuse or neglect. In some situations, sharing information with a family about their child could seem good practice, but it is not crucial e.g. where evidence of abuse or neglect could be destroyed or removed by a parent/carer or where a child could be placed at an increased risk when parents/carers have this knowledge. Any paperwork with children’s details on is kept away from other parents and only used when needed, no information can be passed on about somebody else’s child and details cannot be given out. Letters are often sent out to make sure that all details are up to date.