Safeguarding legislations, polices and guidelines are put into action so that children and young people are guarded from harm, abuse and any forms of mistreatment and so that their welfare is protected. The main current legislations, policies and guidelines are United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 is an international agreement that outlines the minimum requirements and standards for protecting the rights of children up to the age of 18 years.
It states the basic rights of every child such as the right to life, be safe from harm and protection from dangerous work. In the UK, this convention was ratified in 1991 and included children’s right to be protected from abuse, to express their views, to privacy, to be listened to and their right to care and services. This legislation ensures children are safe and looked after by all. Children Act 1989 emphasises that the welfare of the child is paramount.
It highlights parental responsibility rather than right and the collaboration of professionals and families in caring for for the welfare of children. The Act supports that the child’s own family is the best place for them though it is the duty of local authorities to investigate where is suspected that a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. It is also local authority obligation to identify, safeguard and promote child welfare in addition to provide accessible services.
Child Protection Act 1999 provides protection for all children with importance on safety, well-being and the best interests of children. The principles within this Act include a child’s right to protection from harm, a child’s right to stable living arrangements and the significance of the family in the care and upbringing of the child. Education Act 2002 specifies the responsibilities of local authorities, governing bodies, head teachers and all individuals working in schools to safeguard the welfare of children and young people ensuring they are safe, cared for and free from harm.
The Act safeguards education standards and the role and status of qualified teaching staff and support staff clarifying their responsibilities relating to teaching and learning. For instance teaching staff are trained recognising signs of child abuse and neglect and reporting concerns to designated teachers and where necessary informing the local authority. Children Act 2004 puts into practice the Every Child maters green paper focusing on the five outcomes, be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic well-being.
The Act requires local authorities to lead multi-agency groups that work closely together forming a unified service where information about the welfare of children can be shared to ensure they are safeguarded. Importance is placed on establishing the wishes of the child in addition to promoting the educational achievement of lookedafter children. Working Together to Safeguard Children 2006 and 2010 outline the obligations of individuals and organisations as well as how they should collaborate to safeguard and protect the welfare of children and young people.
It sees the emergence of Local Safeguarding Children Boards, sets the processes to be followed when there are concerns for a child, actions to take to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people experiencing or at risk of significant harm and the training requirements for individuals and agencies involved in child protection. It puts importance on the shared responsibility to safeguard children and young people.
In England, the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their families 2000 assists professionals in identify children and young people that are in need and assess the best method to help and support them and their families. In Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) use the core aims of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to deliver safeguarding policies and procedures on providing support on parenting, supporting childcare, tackling child poverty, improving health, promoting play, delivering education programmes and ensuring the voices of children and young people are heard.
The WAG paper Safeguarding Children – Working Together under the Children Act 2004 provides guidance on analysing the state of safeguarding, implementing the and promoting children’s welfare. Furthermore, The Children’s Commissioner for Wales Act 2001 is put into place to safeguard as well as promote the rights and welfare of children.
The Children Act 1995, Protecting children: a shared responsibility: guidance on inter-agency cooperation and the Protection of Children Act 2003 shaped a Children’s Commissioner for Scotland so to safeguard and promote the rights and welfare of children. Similarly, in Northern Ireland the Children Order 1995 provides guidance on Cooperating to safeguard children. Legislation makes it is an offence not to report crimes where arrest can be made to the police including most crimes against children therefore safeguarding them.