Duty of care is the duties and responsibilities for children and young people from the keyworker, teacher or child-minder to ensure they are not harmed in a particular task’s that are made for the children. We can do this by making sure that we make wise choices so that there are no hazards and to pay full attention to everything around us and to ensure the children’s health and safety at all times. Every child should be assigned a key person. In child-minding settings, the child-minder is the key person. The key person should meet the needs of each child in their care and respond sensitively to their feelings, ideas and behavior, talking to parents to make sure that the child is being cared for appropriately for each family. When we are trained we are seen as experts, although this varies depending on the level and extent of the training. Duty of care is needed not only to the children, but also to their parents and families, who expect us to use our knowledge to care for their children. A high duty of care is needed for children because of their narrow ability to care for themselves as they are still learning, and the younger the child the higher the duty of care is. An example of this is the Occupier’s Liability Act 1957. This consideration should be even greater if a child is known to have learning difficulties or is known to have a medical condition which may make them more vulnerable than the average child to foreseeable risk of harm. If we do not meet the duty of care then we would be fully responsible and be held accountable for following negligence to occur (Lutzenberger, 2010) (Meggitt C, 2011; 40). The EYFS is the framework that ensures all parents and carers that their children will be kept safe and will help them to succeed. The EYFS also helps to achieve the five stages of every child matters. Since September 2008 it is a legal requirement to use the EYFS to meet the learning and development of all children in all early year’s settings which complies with the welfare regulations (section 40 of the childcare act 2006) Also we have safeguarding which states the expectations of what must be done to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and young people We do this by doing assessments, getting advice and support from the appropriate people.
Examples of how we do this in my setting.
Within our setting we carry out daily checks to ensure that the environment inside and outside is safe before the morning session at 8am. We have a check list of things to do for example check all fire doors are unlocked , all gates outside are locked, no wet floors and all plugs have safety covers etc. We tick them off every day when they are done. We have daily rotas for change of nappies, dinners and lunches and vacuuming. We all contribute to ensure it is clean and the end of the session and at the end of the day and before and after meals we disinfect tables chairs we are stopping the spread of infection. We ensure that at least one member of staff in each room has been trained in first Aid and that we have the right equipment. To complete accident forms when an accident occurs and getting the parent/carer to sign to say there have been made aware. We sign in and out every child that enters and leave the setting we also have one at the main doors for staff and people that come to drop or collect children.
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How duty of care contributes to the safeguarding or protection of individuals
One part of my work is to always put the children and young people first, keep them safe and protect them from significant harm. We must follow the guidance of every child matters and promote safeguarding and the welfare of the children and young people. We should also make sure that the person caring for a child especially alone is suitable to do so and has a CRB check. Many things help us to provide the care to keep children and young people protected and safe, some of them are:
Risk Assessments: By doing risk assessments for all of the activities we do and for the playing areas ensures that if any risks concerning equipment, venues and activities will be found therefore reducing the risk of injury or harm to the children and young people. Also spotting potential hazards and eliminating them this could include germs and transferable diseases, we can minimise this just by cleaning surface and toys with an anti-bacterial to promote good health.
Policies and Procedures: By having rules and policies in place it give a good guidance of what is suitable in the setting from an adult or child that is at an age of understanding the rules and boundaries.
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Making observations and assessing children: By doing this I am able to check to see if individual child or young person is progressing and developing at suitable rates, following the EYFS. Also by doing observations it will help us pick up on and recognise any signs of neglect or abuse so that these can be reported to the relevant third parties to protect the child or young person.
Training and development: I and all other childcare providers must keep up to date on compulsory training such as first aid and safeguarding. No one should be left to car for a child or young person alone if they do not have the appropriate training to care for a child which as on 2015 will be a minimum of level 3 training in childcare.
Task 2: Potential conflicts or dilemmas that may arise between the duty of care and an individual’s rights
It could cause conflict if a piece of information is shared about a child or young person without the parents’ consent. Information about a child or young person is collected and stored in a locked unit in the main office or on a computer with a password protection data base with the parents or carers consent. Data protection act 1998 clearly states that all information should not be shared and kept safe but accessible to professionals with the parents or carers signature. The parents or carers should have free access to this information on request, the only exception to this is in a very small number of cases such as if a child or young person are at risk of significant harm. Another issue that may cause conflict is if we have to tell a parent some information that they may disagree with or would not like to hear. As early years practioners we put the children’s welfare, development and learning first but if we noticed a child is lacking in speech we would talk to the parent and discuss that the child will need the appropriate support and help at home. This is an issue that parents may find hard to come to terms with and although they would want the best for their child they may reject the comments of the practitioner and think it is criticism instead of it actually being concerns for the child. By taking the parent into a quiet and confidential space so that they can take in it is main focus for child’s best interests. It is important to involve the nursery manager or senior staff in the discussions.
How to manage risks associated with conflicts or dilemmas between individual’s rights and the duty of care.
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