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Effects of National Policy and Legislation on Care Practice and Provision

Every child matters

In this section I am going to be talking about one national legislation on a care practice and provision.

The government are working together to improve the lives of children, young people and their families. They are trying to make a change in the quality of accessibility and coherence of services so that every child and young person is able to fulfil their full potential and those facing particular obstacles are supported to overcome them.

The Children Act 2004 provides the legislative foundation for whole-system reform to support this long-term and ambitious programme. It outlines new legislative responsibilities and explains the accountabilities for children’s services.

Green paper

There have been numerous green papers which were part of the conciliation period. In 2003, the government published a Green Paper which was called Every Child Matters. This published alongside the death of Victoria Climbié; this was a young girl who was horrifically abused and tortured, and was eventually killed by her great aunt and the man they lived with. Due to this, it brought recognition of the need to bring more consistency to the inspection of services for children.

The Green Paper was built on existing plans to strengthen preventative services by focusing on four key themes:

  • Increasing the focus on supporting families and carers  the most critical influence on children's lives.
  • Ensuring necessary intervention takes place before children reach crisis point and protecting children from falling through the net.
  • Addressing the underlying problems identified in the report into the death of Victoria Climbié  weak accountability and poor integration.
  • Ensuring that the people working with children are valued, rewarded and trained.

With the green paper being put in place, it prompted exceptional debate about services for children, young people and families, included with this there were consultations with working people working in children’s services and parents, children and young people. Once the government had published Every Child Matters, it then passed onto the Children Act 2004, which provided the legislative spine for developing a more effective and accessible services which was focused around the needs of children, young people and families.

The National framework for change - The Children Act 2004

The Children Act 2004 secured Royal Assent on 15th November 2004. The act is the legislative spine one which they want to build an improvement on children’s services. It establishes for England:

  • A children’s commissioner to champion the views and interest of children and young people;
  • A duty on Local authorities to make arrangements to promote co-operation between agencies and other appropriate bodies (such as voluntary and community organisations) in order to improve children’s well-being (where well-being is defined by reference to the five outcomes), and a duty on key partners to take part in the co-operation arrangements
  • A duty on key agencies to safeguard and promote welfare of children
  • A duty on Local Authorities to set up Local Safeguarding Children Board and on key partners to take part
  • Provision for indexes or databases containing basic information about children and young people to enable better sharing of information
  • A requirement for a single Children and Young People’s Plan to be drawn up by each Local Authority
  • A requirement of Local Authorities to appoint a Director of Children’s Services and designate a Lead Member
  • The creation of an integrated inspection framework and the conduct of Joint Area Reviews to assess local areas progress in improving outcomes and provision relating to foster care, private fostering and the education of children in care

Putting the focus on local change

This change sets out a ten-year programme to stimulate long-term and sustained improvement in children’s health and well-being. It has been implemented by Primary Care Trusts (PCT’s), Local Authorities and other partners including other health organisations, which are also contributing to the achievements of the five outcomes.

This diagrams is ‘The children’s trust in action’, it is the model of the whole-system change.

A national framework for change

Local change programmes has been proposed that if it set within a supportive national framework, the programme will be much stronger. The framework has been designed to:

  • Put clearly defined outcomes of the heart of the process
  • Clarify what they are wanting to achieve, locally and nationally
  • Show how the outcomes map against Public Service Agreement (PSA) targets and local performance indicator, aligning these with the criteria for local assessment and inspection in an Outcomes Framework for children’s services
  • Provide a means of implementing The National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services and children’s aspect of the Public Health White Paper- Choosing Health: Making healthy choices easier.

  • Prioritise national action to support change in practice and service delivery
  • Ensure that change will be promoted through an improvement cycle, based on the Outcomes Framework, which helps local partnership assess their progress and set new ambitions
  • Support change through dialogue and joint working between national and local government promoting learning across local change programmes
  • Ensure effective communications

The government have recognised that delivering certain services to children and young people effectively has an important role to play in working towards the five outcomes. This includes those working in child-care settings, schools, health services, social care, youth services, the police and criminal justice system and culture, sports and play organisations.

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Outcomes and aims

The Government has worked with partners from the legislative and voluntary and community area to define what the five outcomes mean and what changes need to put in place. It has been identified that 25 specific aims for children and young people and the support need from parents, carers and families in order to achieve those aims.

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Some local areas have already developed successful outcomes-based approaches. For example, Portsmouth has agreed locally a shared set of outcomes known as the ‘Portsmouth Eight’.

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The every child matters policy

The every child matters policy, it applies to the well-being of children and young people from when they are born and then reach the age of 19. The policy is based on regardless the child’s background or circumstances, and child should always throughout their life; they should always receive as much support as possible.

There are five key principles in the policy which the government believe children should have support in. These are as follows:-

1) To be healthy

This outcome deals with the extent ...

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