Safeguarding the Welfare or Children and Young People
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Understanding current legislation, policies and procedures is essential to ensure that safe guarding is carried out effectively. Knowing the risks ad possible consequences that children and young people can be affected by is important within a supporting role. It is also important to fully understand the responsibilities and when to take action. Legislations, guidelines and policies are put into place to help protect the welfare and safeguarding of children and young people. Usually parents and carers have the primary responsibility for safeguarding their children but in certain circumstances agencies, families or friends have the responsibility to safeguard their protection. The following is an outline of current legislations, guidelines, policies and procedures within the UK. The United Nations convention on the rights of a child 1989 was approved by the United Kingdom in 1991. “Article 19 states children’s rights to be protected from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation including sexual abuse” (Burnham L 2008 P16) Children Act 2004
This act includes two important sections which focus specifically on children protection. Burnham (2008) says that section 47 states that the local authority has a duty to investigate when ‘they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child who lives, or is found, in their area is suffering, or likely to suffer significant harm. Section 17 states that services must be put into place by local authority to ‘safeguard and promote the welfare of children within their area who are in need’. The Children Act 2004 provides legal framework for ‘every child matters’. Burnham states the act includes the requirements for:
– Services to work more closely to form a integrated service – A common assessment framework to help early identification of need – Shared database of information which is relevant to the safety and welfare of children – Earlier support for parents who are experiencing problems. Another legislation that is in place is the Education Act 2002. This legislation sets the responsibility of all people that work in schools to ensure that children are safe and free from harm.
These include governing bodies, head teachers, teachers and supporting staff. These legislations are in place to help ensure all children’s safety and wellbeing is monitored. Schools develop policies to ensure the safety, security and wellbeing of their pupils. All staff are given different responsibilities that they must follow. Procedures are also put into place so staff no the correct way to report or support pupils that are in need or in significant harm. “Policies may be separate or incorporated into one health and safety policy but all must include sections which cover issues of; – Safeguarding and protecting, and procedures for reporting
– E- Safety
– Bullying, including cyber bullying”. (Burnham L 2008 P17) “The department for education provides guidance for local authorities including schools. Schools use these guidelines to develop their own policies and procedures” (Burnham L 2008 P17). The department for education guidance are as follows;
* Working together to safeguard children (2010)
* What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused (2006) This guidance is given to help those working with children. It looks at the actions they should take if they are concerned for a child. This will include who to inform. Agencies such as the children’s social care will be contacted to help with support and caring for the child. The children’s social care, have the key role to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in need. Working together to safeguard children (2010) sets out duties of organisations and how they must work together. LSCB has particular roles and responsibilities to oversee the work of other agencies. If agencies work in partnership, more support and care can be given to children in need. The more professional help the children or young people receive, the less chance of them being affected later on in childhood or adulthood. UCCIS launched in 2008 after being concerned about the safety of the children and young people using the internet. There are now codes of practice in schools which will prevent pupils from entering unsafe sites. However their protection at home is their parent’s responsibility.
Schools will try their hardest to support parents by promoting awareness to pupils about normal and not normal activities on the internet. All schools must have a E-safety code of practice and have software in place to prevent pupils from seeing unreasonable software. Schools have a key role in protecting and recognising children that are in need because they spend more time with the pupils than any other agencies or authorities. However it is only their role to protect and support the pupils and inform agencies. The agencies, normally children’s social care are the first contacted after a concern has been raised about a child or young person. Schools will help to show awareness to their pupils to show what is acceptable and not acceptable behaviour, this including awareness of e-safety. When children are using the internet schools have the responsibility to monitor what the pupils are looking at and making sure software is in place to safeguard the children.
Schools will have the responsibility to provide additional support to protect pupils on the at risk register. They will have to give the opportunity to all members of staff about additional training in safeguarding pupils. All adults that work with children will have to observe for signs of abuse, monitor and record any concern. All concerns must be referred to, each school having different procedures in place on how to deal with a concern over a pupil. Another agency that works in partnership are the police. They have the responsibility to gather evidence on whether a crime has been committed and produce evidence to agencies or the court if necessary.
They have the responsibility to take immediate action if they feel a child is in immediate danger. Health professionals have a major responsibility in the welfare of safeguarding children. They have direct contact within their establishments. Many doctors and emergency services tend to injuries in children and their role is to examine the child or young person and identify if there is a cause of concern that the injury was not sustained accidentally. They have the duty to report to child services if they feel a child has been harmed or may be in need of help and support. The NSPCC is a charitable organisation that works to protect children from harm. They have the power to take immediate action of they feel a child is at risk or being abused or being abused. The police and children’s social care have these powers alongside the NSPCC. NSPCC also support families and children. They promote awareness about abuse through advertising and training programmes.
They offer an emergency helpline for children in distress or harm and provides a helpline to the public. They share their expertise with other professionals, For example they may go into schools to help promote awareness of abuse and show support. Finally children’s social care have the responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children who are in need. They work in partnership with other agencies and parents, giving support when needed. If the children’s social care feel a child is at risk they will follow procedures that are in place.
These are as follows as Burnham (2008) states. * Carry out an initial assessment, to find out about the child’s needs, the ability of the parents to meet the child’s needs, family and environment factors. * Meet and conduct interviews with the child or family members * Gather information from other agencies about the child’s circumstances. * Take the lead during a child’s protection conference. * Take action when a child is in immediate danger.
In conclusion all agencies work in partnership to safeguard the welfare of children and young people. Guidelines, procedures, policies and legislations are put in place to help people that work with children. They are put in place to prevent a wrong decision being made and to make sure the child’s safety is their priority. All adults that work with children must know all the current procedures so the child can receive the best support that is needed.