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The impact of child safeguarding policies

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How Current Policies, Theories and Politics Have Influenced Children and Young People

This essay is going to look at the policies and politics about the safeguarding, welfare and wellbeing of children and young people. In particular this essay will look at the quality of social services and statistics of children’s involvement with social services, the Children’s Act 2004 and what this proposes (Kay, 1999). Also the Victoria Climbie Case - and who she was involved with, Every Child Matters - and the approaches taken, the Children’s Commissioner, the Children’s fund and charities such as the NSPCC, Lucy’s Faithfull Foundation and Action for Children will all be considered to understand what support is available to children and young people.

In 2012/13, it is reported that just under 600,000 children had some sort of involvement with social services because of concerns for their welfare. The Department for Education (DFE) is now known to looking at the prospect of raising the quality of services delivered by social care workers. To achieve this, the DFE has sought to enforce the revised statutory guidance which promotes the welfare of children and safeguard them from harm (Morgan N and Timpson E, 2014). The result being that, child protection services not seen to be at the right level by Ofsted will be changed by the DFE with immediate effect. To improve future services the department for education are continuing to reform the system of serious case reviews to demonstrate to social workers, incidence of serious protection issues and this can be improved on. Other continuous improvement measures include the Step Up to Social Work scheme and Frontline Pilot which are now looking at attracting high-quality graduates interested in social work. Private and voluntary organisations are also to be delegated some of the works undertaken by social care workers in an effort to strengthen child protection services, support for looked after children and to give vulnerable children a better chance of staying with their families - rather than going into care through improved early interventions services (Morgan N and Timpson E, 2014).

The fundamental aim of the Children’s Act 2004 is to improve the wellbeing of children and young people through local authorities and agencies while widening the powers of relevant service providers. Safeguarding children and promotion of children’s welfare is therefore the priority of the Children’s Act. Unsurprisingly, the non-statutory Area Child Protection Committees have been replaced with Safeguarding Children Boards which means a robust plan of strategy could be set out for children and young people and could be made and published by children’s services authorities. The Children’s Act also allowed databases to be made that held all children’s and young people’s information whereby professionals involved with children or young people could access and share information (The Stationary Office, 2004).

The Every Child Matters initiative (ECM) was introduced in 2004 after the sad death of Victoria Climbie who was widely known by all the relevant agencies - two housing authorities, four social services departments, two child protection departments linked to the police, an NSPCC ran child unit and two different hospitals. In the case of the latter, Victoria Climbie had been seen with serious injuries (Department for Education, 2003). The ECM aim to promote the wellbeing of children and young people through better coordination between multi-agencies such as schools, local authority, police and other care providers. This approach is deemed productive as organisations can readily team up to share information in order to boost any identified child protection measure (everychildmatters.co.uk, 2014; Knowles, 2009). The establishment of Children’s Commissioner in 2005 has further strengthened the mandate of the ECM initiative as vulnerable people in society now have a voice in parliament and their local areas (everychildmatters.co.uk, 2014).

The efforts of the government is complemented by a plethora of charity and not for profit organisations such as the NSPCC, Lucy’s Faithfull Foundation and Action for Children to name but a few. The NSPCC being the leading children’s charity for example fights to end child abuse by protecting and changing the lives of children for the better and freeing them from harmful situations. The charity will also support parents who are in need of advice in any way (nspcc.org.uk, 2015). Lucy’s Faithfull Foundation on other hand is the only UK-wide child protection charity dedicated solely to reducing the risk of children being sexually abused. They work with all members of families who have suffered from sexual abuse. The charity offer educational programmes, courses and professional support at all levels to victims (lucyfaithfull.org, no date). Finally, Action for Children work with children, young people, parents, carers and run 650 services throughout the UK. This charity is able to provide essential services for both neglected and abused children and young people (actionforchildren.org.uk, 2014).

Overall it seems that the safeguarding of children and young people, welfare and wellbeing is still a constant battle. Just under 600,000 children in 2012/13 had some sort of involvement with social services because of concerns for their welfare while the DFE continues to enforce the revised statutory guidance with rigour. Seemingly, the system in place for child protection and safeguarding is constantly being reviewed - with the Children’s Act 2004 now bringing in a multi-agency approach. All what this means is that, organisations and agencies can pass information about a child or young person to other professionals so that an up to date information is always available (Allen, 1990). In effect, the current institutions are committed to averting future cases as in ‘Victoria Climbie’. The Every Child Matters initiative was introduced through the Children’s Act 2004 and now protect the wellbeing and welfare of children using a multi-agency approach. This is indeed a positive outcome of the Children’s Act 2004 along with the Children’s Commissioner set up in 2005 which has already given children and young people a voice in parliament and in their locality. The Children’s fund 2000 among others have also helped disadvantaged children and young people by improving safeguarding practices.

In conclusion, current policies, theories and politics within the United Kingdom as whole have positively influenced the welfare and wellbeing of children and young people. It seems that more still has to be done where safeguarding children and young people is concerned but the government is heading in the right direction.

Bibliography

Websites

Books

  • Allen, N (1990) Making Sense of the Children’s Act. 2nd edn. Essex: Longman Industry and Public Service
  • Knowles, G (2009) Ensuring Every Child Matters: A Critical Approach. 1st edn. London: Sage
  • Kay, J (1999) A Practical Guide: Protecting Children. 1st edn. London: Cassell
  • Stationary Office, The, and HM Government, (2004) Children’s Act 2004: chapter 31, explanatory notes. 1st edn. The Stationary Office 2004

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