Unit STL3C3: Understand How to Safeguard Children and Young People
In this unit I am going to outline the current legislations, guidelines and policies and procedures and how it affects the safeguarding of children and young people. I will also be explaining the need to safeguard children and describing the roles and responsibilities of different organisations.
1.1 – Outline current legislation, guidelines, policies and procedures within the UK Home Nation affecting the safeguarding of children and young people
Safeguarding is protecting vulnerable children from abuse or neglect and putting measures in place to prevent harm to children’s and young people’s health and development. Child protection is protecting a child who has already or likely to suffer abuse. Anyone who works with children daily has a duty to do this. There are many laws that are put in place to help protect the welfare and safeguarding of children and young people.
• Working together to Safeguard Children 2018
• Health and Safety Policy
• The Children Act 1989/2004
• Human Rights Act 1998
• E – Safety
• The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) 1991
• Every Child Matters 2004
• Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015
• Special Educational Needs Code of Practice 2015
In my setting all staff have a responsibility to report any concerns about the welfare and safety of a child and young person. All concerns must be taken seriously, and action should be taken. This would be done by, speaking to the designated person or the person who will be acting in their absence. Agreeing with this person on what action should be taken and when it will be reviewed. Recording the concern using the schools safeguarding policy.
Under the Education Act 2002 schools/settings have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of their pupils and, in accordance with guidance set out in ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015’, my setting will work in partnership with other organisations where appropriate to identify any concerns about child welfare and take action to address them.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people goes beyond implementing basic child protection procedures. It is an integral part of all activities and functions in my setting.
2.1 – Explain the need to safeguard children and young people
It is very important to safeguard children and young people as they can not protect themselves alone and are more vulnerable to neglect and abuse then adults are. The neglect and abuse could be in any form such as,
• Physical abuse
• Emotional abuse
• Sexual abuse
• Verbal abuse
So, I must be able to identify early sign and symptoms of abuse and neglect to help prevent them from any serious harm and get in touch with the right agencies such as social workers/ police to work together. A huge sign that can help me identify is if there is a drastic or sudden change in the child or young persons behaviour and they are not their usual selves. For example, if a child or young person is receiving verbal abuse they may start to withdraw themselves and not interact with other children and adults. Children and young people can not always protect themselves when they are in a dangerous situation, and they can also be reluctant of reaching out to tell somebody in fear, that they won’t be believed or will receive more abuse. Therefore, it is my duty to safeguard children and young people and protect them from maltreatment, help to prevent impairment of health and development, making sure the child is learning in a safe and effective provision and also taking the correct action so that the child/ young person has the best outcomes and doesn’t delay their development.
2.2 – Explain the impact of a child or young person-centred approach
It is important to have a child or young person centred and inclusive approach because you are looking at the individual needs of that child/young person. My setting works with many agencies to make sure the child has everything they need in place to be involve in all aspects of the school day. There are some children in my setting that require different help so we will assess each child individually, so they can receive the correct help and resources. Some of the children/young people will have an individual educational plan (IEP) which is put in place to either help them aim and achieve their individual goals in a set time frame with help and support or other children may require the school grounds to be adapted. My setting has adapted the school setting by building a hygiene suite and putting ramps in around the school to make it more accessible for some of the children. It is all about the individual child’s/young person’s needs.
It is also fundamental to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of every child by having a centred approach. It also helps to keep the child in focus when making decisions about their lives and you are also working together with their families/ carers.
2.3 – Explain what is meant by partnership working in the context of safeguarding
When it comes to safeguarding, children are best protected when professionals know what is required of them and how they work together. This means that everyone who works with children has a responsibility for keeping them safe which involves identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action. To carry this out effectively professionals need to work in partnership with each other. Unfortunately, the importance of doing this has come about from professionals failing to protect Victoria Climbie who died in 2000. Her death was preventable as doctors, police and social workers all came into contact with her and had concerns. However, the doctors who treated her discharged her to her abusers care and admitted they assumed the social services would investigate. The social workers were described as incompetent and Victoria’s social worker felt unsupported by her supervisor and described her colleagues as conflicted and chaotic. The police too failed to fully investigate Victoria’s home (for fear of catching scabies) although close family members and Victoria’s child-minder raised their concerns. Following this case lessons were learnt and recommendations put into place to try and prevent another tragedy where successful partnership working for safeguarding should have stepped in earlier to avoid this abuse. To provide adequate safeguarding measures it helps to have a complete ‘picture’ of the child. Partnership working means each professional, whether it’s the police, NHS, educations departments, NSPCC or social workers, if they have concerns to do with safeguarding, welfare child protection, they should work with the other agencies in contact with that child. Each of these professionals may have one snapshot and a concern that may, on its own, not necessary need intervention. By working in partnership and sharing information the bigger picture evolves and, if each profession has a different concern, together the dots can be joined and a…
The Green Paper Every Child Matters (ECM) (Chief Secretary to the Treasury, 2003) built on this thinking and analysis, identifying the need for agencies to cooperate and work together in order to improve children’s well-being. It identified five outcomes that were seen to be most important to children and young people:
1. be healthy
2. stay safe
3. enjoy and achieve
4. make a positive contribution
5. achieve economic well-being.
Every Child Matters informed the Children Act of 2004 which led to the reform of children and young people’s services in England, with an emphasis on promoting cooperation between agencies in order to improve outcomes for children and young people (if you are interested in reading more about these policy developments, see the Every Child Matters website). A significant event in the lead-up to ECM and the Children Act, and one which was highly influential in changes in practice that followed from this, was the death of Victoria Climbié and Lord Laming’s subsequent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding it.
As Percy-Smith observes:
The focus on partnership working is not surprising given the long list of high profile failures to adequately ‘join-up’ policy and practice.
(Percy-Smith, 2005, p. 1)
Victoria Climbié died on 25 February 2000, ‘the victim of almost unimaginable cruelty’ (DoH, 2003, p. 1). Her aunt and her aunt’s boyfriend were convicted of her murder a year later. The inquiry that followed found a catalogue of systemic failures, poor professional practice, and poor leadership and management at a senior level, including a ‘dreadful state of communications’ within and between agencies (DoH, 2003, p. 9), failures of record keeping and information sharing, lack of clear protocols between agencies, a failure to follow procedures, and confusions about responsibilities. It also highlighted poor relationships between staff from different agencies, a failure to understand each other’s role, barriers to communication created by the stereotypes different agencies had of each other, and agencies working to different agendas.
Lord Laming identified a need for fundamental change in the way that services for children and young people were delivered. Every Child Matters took up and developed this agenda – and the ‘5 ECM outcomes’ became a strong driving force in practice with young people in England.
Youth Matters (DfES, 2005) continued the ECM agenda, focusing particularly on the need to develop a coherent system of support for young people. Again, it highlighted the need for close working and collaboration across different agencies working with young people, including public sector, voluntary and community sector, and private, organisations. It placed a particular emphasis on supporting the needs of young people who were most at risk and who had the most complex needs, through the development of integrated youth support services and the role of the ‘lead professional’.
2.4 – Describe the roles and responsibilities of three (3) different organisations that may be involved when a child or young person has been abused or harmed
Each agency has a key specific role, below is a description of the roles and responsibilities of the different organisations that may be involved when a child or young peon has been abused or harmed.
* To provide support for vulnerable children
* Responsible for co-ordinating and implementing an inter-agency child protection plan to safeguard children
* To make enquiries to enable them to decide what action they should take to safeguard or promote the child or young person’s welfare
* Deal with courts when a child or young person is thought to be in immediate danger
* Act as a principle point of contact for children where there are child protection concerns
* Responsible for co-ordinating the assessment of the child or young person’s needs, the parent’s capacity to keep the child safe and the wider family circumstances
* Have arrangements in place so that they may be contacted directly by parents of family members seeking help, concerned friends and neighbours and by professionals and statutory and voluntary agencies
* All schools and colleges have a pastoral responsibility towards their pupils and should take all reasonable steps to ensure that a child/young person’s welfare is safeguarded and their safety is preserved
* Have their own policies and procedures in place for safeguarding children and young people
* Be able to identify children/young people who are suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm
* Create and maintain a safe environment for children and young people
* Have a child protection policy that sets out the procedures that should be followed whenever there are concerns about a child/young person
* A schools child protection policy should also address how children will be made aware of risks, how children will be helped to recognise risks and how they will be given the skills to cope through the use of the preventative curriculum
* Trained to recognise and notice outwards signs of possible abuse or neglect
* Refer any concerns to the designated child protection officer within their setting, who in turn would report to social services where necessary
* Play a role in assisting social services by referring concerns and providing information which will contribute to child protection investigations
* Liaise with social services where there are concerns about abuse or neglect
* This is a voluntary organisation and it has placed upon it “the duty to ensure an appropriate and speedy response in all cases where children are alleged to be at risk of abuse or neglect in any form”
* Have a responsibility to identify and prevent cruelty to children
* Contributes to multi-agency training and particularly multi-disciplinary training
* The NSPCC is authorised to initiate proceedings to protect children under the terms of the Children Act 1989
* Operates a helpline service advising adults and professionals on safeguarding matters and where necessary, liaises with local statutory agencies to refer children at risk of abuse
* Operates Child Line which provides a telephone helpline across the UK for all children and young people who needs advice about abuse, bullying and other concerns
Although all the above may be involved when a child or young person has been abused or harmed, this may not always be the case for every individual. Below is a brief outline of the investigation process in which the agencies above take part and when.
Consultation – Discussion and advice on child protection concerns.
Referrals – Formal requests to make child protection enquiries on behalf of a child or young person who may be suffering.
Initial Assessment – Record/file checks to clarify if a child or young person is in need of protection. This involves a consultation with parents/carers, family and the child/young person. However, if a child is put at further risk by professionals consulting their family, the family is not informed of the initial assessment.
Strategy discussion – Whenever there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child/young person is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm, a strategy discussion will take place which will involve local authority children’s social care, the police, health services and other bodies where appropriate (e.g. school) and the referring agency. The strategy discussion should be convened and led by local authority children’s social care and those participating should be sufficiently senior so that they are able to contribute to the discussion and make decisions on behalf of their own agencies.
Child Protection Enquiry – Social services, the police and possible the NSPCC work jointly to investigate and assess the need for child protection.
Child Protection Conference – If the reported concerns are confirmed by the enquiry, social services may call a child protection conference. This is a multi-agency meeting to agree whether any action is necessary. Those who have a relevant contribution to make may include at this stage:
* the child or his/her representative
* the child’s family members
* foster carers
* residential care staff
* local authority children’s social care staff who have been involved in an assessment of the child and the family
* Professionals involved with the child/young person e.g. school staff, health visitors, paediatricians, and early year’s staff
* Professionals involved with the parents or other family members e.g. family support services, GP’s and mental health.
* Professionals with expertise in the particular type of harm suffered by the child/young person
* Professionals involved in the investigation e.g. the police
* NSPCC or other voluntary organisations who are involved
* Local authority legal services
The conference may agree at this point to put the child/young person’s name on the child protection register.