Unit 3 – Supporting Children
(E1+E2) There are several laws that influence working practices in a setting for children that are currently in place. The Data Protection Act 1998 contains 8 principles to keep personal data safe. The principles state that data must be; obtained and processed fairly and lawfully, used only for specified and lawful purposes, adequate, relevant, not excessive, accurate, kept up to date, processed in accordance with the individuals rights and is kept secure (www.legislation.org.uk). The Data Protection Act was passed to control the way information is handled and to give legal rights to people who have information stored about them. Supporting children includes keeping them and their personal data safe. When working in a childcare setting it is important that childcare practitioners protect the children’s personal data by keeping to the rules given by the Data Protection Act. The Children Act 2004 identifies and places a responsibility on childcare practitioners to work together to help children meet the following five priority outcomes: be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic wellbeing. (www.medway.gov.uk) Emphasis should be on adopting a holistic approach to identifying the child’s individual needs at an early stage and working with the family and other agencies to meet these needs. The Children Act 2004 provides a legal framework for the Every Child Matters programme (Tassoni.P, Et al, 2007, page 116). The Human Rights Act 1998 came into force in the United Kingdom in October 2000. ‘It means that you can defend your rights in the UK courts and that public organisations (including the Government, the Police and local councils) must treat everyone equally, with fairness, dignity and respect’ (www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk). This means that within childcare settings both the childcare practitioners and the children should have their rights met; for example, the right to their privacy could be met by having cubicles in the toilets. Anyone who works in a childcare setting has the responsibility for the health and safety of others there. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is ‘An Act to make further provision for securing the health, safety and welfare of persons at work’ (www.legislation.gov.uk). Employees in childcare settings must identify and reduce any possible hazards within the setting to ensure the health and safety of themselves, other adults and the children in the setting. The act states that safety procedures must be displayed clearly and all risks should be controlled and monitored. The Health and Safety at Work act 1974 ensures that children in the setting are protected from risks and hazards. ‘The Equality Act came into force from October 2010 providing a modern, single legal framework with clear, streamlined law to more effectively tackle disadvantage and discrimination’ (www.equalityhumanrights.com). In order to follow this legislation, childcare practitioners need to treat every child in their care the same and not discriminate children of different religion, ability, gender, age or children with either a physical or medical disability. (E3+E4) Every childcare setting needs policies and procedures that show how they are meeting legal requirements. Safeguarding children is vital for childcare practitioners as they have a duty of care towards the children within the setting. Childcare settings should have a child protection policy and procedures for dealing with issues of concern or abuse in order to safeguard children. These policies and procedures will conform to the Children Act 2004 as it will ensure children are healthy and safe. A setting should also have a policy in place for working with parents. This could include remaining confidential when working with parents to meet the Data Protection Act 1998. To meet the Equality act 2010, childcare settings should have an equality of opportunity policy. This policy could...
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