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Critically Evaluate the Implications of Current Child Policy for the Welfare of Children

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Social Policy Essay Irene McDonald Thursday Class 10-12 Tutor: Peter Kennedy SOCS216 Critically Evaluate the Implications of Current Child Policy for the Welfare of Children INTRODUCTION Children in the United Kingdom are key consumers of social policy. They consume a vast amount of the many services provided by this Country. Services such as health care through Doctors, hospitals and clinics, the education system which is largely devoted financially to the schooling of young people, and also the social security system which is stretched by children whose parents are in need of income support or family tax credit. (Alcock, Erskine & May, 2002) All of these services contribute to the well-being of the young people of this Country. However, increasing amounts of the Country's budget and social policies are dedicated to another, perhaps more important service for children, that is the Children's welfare services. These services are put in place to work in accordance with The Children Act 1989. (Cooper, 1993) This piece of legislation was provided by the government so that all children residing in the U.K. are cared for, loved and protected. However, some children slip through this net, which is in position to protect them, and this can result in a child's life being put at risk of harm, cruelty or even death. ...read more.


The focus for welfare services is to assist children who are troubled or in need of care and protection. Occasionally, welfare departments have to provide children with substitute care either in children's homes, foster homes or through adoption. There are a variety of reasons, including abuse or neglect which welfare services deem serious enough to choose providing alternative care for a child. However, assessing if a child is at risk from harm is not as straight forward as it would seem. Many highly publicised cases in the past, such as the tragic death of Victoria Climbie bear testament to this. In short, this child was seen by twelve different welfare service departments, yet "gaps in the legislative framework and its implementation" let this child down tragically. (Laming, 2003, 4.180 - 4.183) Responsibility, according to Laming, (2003) rests with managers and members of the organisations concerned, who ultimately had a responsibility to ensure that their services were properly financed, staffed and above all efficiently delivered. Recommendations were subsequently made in the Laming report, (2003) for a new National Agency for Children. This, according to the report, would serve to link all agencies to a minister of "Cabinet rank" who would be responsible for ensuring that policies, legislation and individual departmental plans, affecting families and children, were properly financed, considered and co-ordinated. ...read more.


It was then argued that this proposal would be beneficial to the children of this Country, but it would be further enhanced if local area agencies, working under the National framework, were operational. Following from this a further example of child cruelty contributing to change in social policy was described. The case of Kennedy McFarlane was used to highlight lack of communication between groups, with special reference to the definitions used about the extent of her injuries. Recommendations from Dr Hammond's report on this case, included a self assessment of the way in which any agency, defined and identified "abuse". It was argued from this, that different people's perception of certain words or physical injury may not be as sever as the next person's. It was then proposed that exact checklists are a constructive step forward, enhanced by computer software which would, eradicate human error. In conclusion, it must be noted that these inquiries and reports have made positive headway in helping to eradicate child cruelty, however, it can never be overcome 100%, as human judgement is sometimes unreliable. Finally, it should be noted that, the object of enquiries such as these is not to apportion blame, but to learn lessons which will help protect children from abuse and neglect in the future. ...read more.

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