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Good Practice Within the Legislative Framework.

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Introduction

Good Practice Within the Legislative Framework Child Abuse is the "intentional use of physical force or intentional omission of care by a parent or guardian that causes a child to be hurt, maimed, or killed." (Microsoft: Encarta Encyclopaedia 1999). "Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by influencing harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family situation or in an institutional or community setting: by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger."(Working Together to Safeguard Children, 1999). There are different types of abuse, which may be inflicted upon a child, neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse. Public concern, especially in the United Kingdom and the USA, about the growing incidence of "reported cases of child abuse have led to the introduction of legislation, particularly in the areas of identification of abuse, reporting, and treatment. Prevention efforts are, however, increasing." (Yvonne Nolan: BTEC National Early Years 2002). Projects that provide short-term relief from child-rearing and a range of concrete supportive services to parents have demonstrated that child abuse often occurs when parents are under severe and unremitting stress as a result of events within the family environment over which they have no control. In order to avoid dividing up families and to solve the problem of child abuse, the major role that social and economic forces play must be better understood. Effective prevention requires a "fundamental change in societal values and public priorities in order to alleviate the conditions of poverty, unemployment, inadequate housing, and ill health that are found in the overwhelming majority of abusing families." (Tina Bruce and Carolyn Meggitt: Child Care and Education 2003). It is also necessary to place a greater emphasis on the rights of children and the responsibilities of parents towards their children. Since the 1960s efforts to ensure that abused children are identified have increased greatly in the United Kingdom. ...read more.

Middle

* Incorporate a 'positive duty of care' on parents in England and Wales to promote the welfare of their children. Parents in England and Wales can be subject to criminal and civil proceedings if they harm or neglect a child, but there is no statutory expectation that they will actively promote children's well being. In Scotland, a positive duty of care is enshrined in the Children (Scotland) Act 1995. Early evidence suggests that the legislative change has given professionals a greater mandate to support families and enable them to fulfil their responsibilities under the Act." (www.nspcc.org.uk: Green Paper Article 2003). All early years settings must have "a number of policies, which outline procedures which workers must follow in particular situations." (Penny Tassoni: Child Care and Education 2002). They must also have a child protection policy, which contains information about what to do if they suspect a child in their care is being abused or neglected. These procedures should be written in a format that is easy to read for early years workers. It is important that these policies are reviewed in order to keep up to date of any local and national changes in policy and law. At my work placement there are lots of different measures in place to protection each child in the school. They school have their own policy on how each cases of abuse should be handled but also the policy explains the measures which are taken within the school itself to protect the children from people who may come into the school. The child protection policy in school is designed with reference to the aims of the school as outlined within the requirements and procedures laid down by the Wakefield Area Child Protection Committee. This is in order to: * Prevent children from suffering significant harm as a result of ill treatment. * Help protect children who are at risk from such harm. ...read more.

Conclusion

Effective protection of vulnerable children demands resources, principally of finance and staff with up-to-date professional knowledge and the skills to apply it in a range of practical situations, which can be extremely stressful and urgent. Some staff lack relevant training, particularly medical practitioners. The lack of resources for children who have been abused and neglected is a matter of great public concern. There are also recruitment problems in health services and social work services. There is a shortage of educational psychologists and the British Children's Reporter's Administration is very stretched. Some children live in very poor circumstances and the outcomes for a good number of them will not be improved whilst they remain at home with their families. A number of children are at home because the alternatives - foster care or residential care - are viewed to be either insufficient or of poor quality and in residential care homes they may be at risk from other young people. Other shortages include "the lack of help or therapeutic resources for children who are in severe distress or are already severely damaged by their experiences." (Tina Bruce and Carolyn Meggitt: Child Care and Education 2003). There is clear evidence that some agencies and areas are under considerable pressure. In most local authorities, expenditure on children's services is significantly above the level indicated by the Grant Aided Expenditure (GAE) figure. It is not clear how well resources are being used overall. This report has already noted the high levels of duplication and that resources are often used to meet system requirements rather than meet children's needs. Estimating in specific terms the current financial commitment to child protection is beset with problems. But across statutory agencies the commitment is considerable, not only in direct terms of financing social work Children and Families teams and the Hearing system but in aspects of wider services such as police, education and health. The voluntary organisations such as Barnardos, Child Line and Women's Aid also contribute significantly with grant support from the Scottish Executive and local authorities. ...read more.

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