Current legislation, guidelines, policies and procedures within the UK affecting the safeguarding of children and young people There are legislations, guidelines, policies and procedures within the UK that are in place to help safeguard children and young people in the community. Some of these are;
The Children Act 1989 This is an act to amend previous laws relating to children: To provide for local authority services for children in need and others: To make provision for those who foster, childmind and for day-care for young children and adoption. Also, for children’s homes and voluntary organisations.
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) This international agreement sets out the minimum standards for protecting children’s rights and refers to all children up to the age of 18 years old. There are 54 articles: 40 give direct rights to children. The Convention defines the basic human rights of all children and specifies 14 basic rights. Each child has the right to: •Life
•Name and nationality •Live with his/her parents and if this is not possible then to have contact with them •Say what they think •Meet other children and join groups • Be safe from harm • Medical care •A decent standard of living •Education •Practise their religion and speak their language •Rest and time to play •Protection from dangerous work •Protection from the use of illicit drugs.
In relation to safeguarding children, it states that the best interests of the child should be a biggest consideration when action is taken concerning them. •Children are to be protected from all forms of discrimination •Every child has the inherent right to life, survival and development •Children should not be punished cruelly or in a way that belittles them •Children have the right to be protected from all forms of abuse and neglect and be given proper care by those looking after them •Children who are victims of abuse are entitled to the care and treatment needed to recover from the effects of their mistreatment.
Police Act 1997 and Protection of Children Act 1999 These acts change the routes by which employers can check whether a potential or actual employee has committed criminal offences against children, and whether there is reason for that person to be considered inappropriate to work with children. Sometimes there is a suspicion that a person may have hurt or abused a child but insufficient criminal evidence for them to be convicted. However, a check may confirm the view that the adult presents enough of a risk that they should not work with children.
The Adoption and Children Act 2002 This act replaces the Adoption Act 1976, updates the Children Act 1989 and modernises the existing legal framework for domestic and inter-country adoption in England and Wales.
The Education Act 2002 Part of this act is to introduce a statutory duty on local education authorities, maintained and independent schools and further education institutions to ensure that their responsibilities are carried out with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people.
The Children Act 2004 An Act to make provision for the establishment of a Children’s Commissioner; to make provision about services provided to and for children and young people by local authorities and other persons; to make provision in relation to Wales about advisory and support services relating to family proceedings; to make provision about private fostering, child minding and day care, adoption review panels, the defence of reasonable punishment, the making of grants as respects children and families, child safety orders, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, the publication of material relating to children involved in certain legal proceedings and the disclosure by the Inland Revenue of information relating to children.
Children and Young Persons Act 2008 The purpose of the Act is to bring the statutory framework for the care system in England and Wales up to date by implementing the proposals in the White Paper that require primary legislation. This forms part of the Government’s programme to ensure children and young people receive high quality care and support. The Act also includes provisions in relation to well-being of children and young people, private fostering, child death notification to Local Safeguarding Children Boards and appropriate national authorities, the powers of the Secretary of State to conduct research and applications for the discharge of Emergency Protection Orders.
Working Together to Safeguard Children (HM Government, 2010) This act is the key reference for safeguarding. It provides guidance on how agencies should work together to protect children. It covers the roles and responsibilities of all professionals who come into contact with children through their work and describes the child protection process. It replaces the 1999 guidance with the same title. It helps safeguard children wherever they are, including when they live away from home.
•Emphasises our shared responsibility to safeguard children •Stresses the specific needs of disabled children and children from different ethnic groups •Acknowledges bullying as a form of emotional abuse •Recognises children involved in prostitution as children in need •Requires that children’s wishes and feelings are ascertained in relation to services provided for them •Alerts staff to the interrelationship between domestic violence, parental alcoholism, drugs misuse, mental illness, child abuse and neglect •Recognises the risk to children from employees, including volunteers and the need to develop safeguards that maintain a safe environment.