Explain the importance of safeguarding children and young people
Safeguarding children and young people is a key for all professionals who work in all settings where they have contact with children, more so children who could be more vulnerable than others i.e. a child who struggles with a physical or mental disability. All children need to feel safe and secure and are being taught or mentored by adults they can trust. It is of the upmost importance that the correct people, whether they are full time employees or volunteers are given CRB checks. All agencies involved with children (more so, vulnerable children and young people) must take practical measures to make certain that the risk of harm to children/young people’s wellbeing is minimised. If there are concerns about a child/young person’s welfare then all agencies must take appropriate action to deal with these concerns, i.e. working to the agreed local policies and procedures for safeguarding children, keeping records of all reports made about the child is essential as a source to safeguarding children.
Explain the importance of a child or young person centred approach
Essential to safeguarding and encouraging the welfare of a child or young person is having a child’s centred approach. This could include seeing and keeping a child focused through difficulties they could be experiencing. Listening and ascertaining a child’s wishes and feelings will be important for the child, especially if they have formed a strong bond with the professional they are opening up to. It will also be imperative to a child if that professional close to them understands their daily lives and what they might be experiencing, no matter how hard it could be for the adult to hear. Crucially the child or young person will know there are people out there to help and support them when they need advice or guidance. It is important for a child centred approach because every child is different and a unique individual. A child’s wishes should always be taken into account. The national framework for Every Child Matters (Children’s Act 2004) was set up to support children or young people to ensure the joining up of services
to ensure that each individual achieves the five Every child Matters Outcomes which offer support to children to enable them to be;
• Stay safe.
• Enjoy and achieve.
• Make a positive contribution.
• Achieve economic well-being.
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 clearer decision can be made on any intervention measures. To help co-ordinate partnership working professionals use the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) to assess a child’s needs and use the outcomes to provide access to services to provide necessary support. CAF is a voluntary process which is used with informed consent so families do not have to engage and if they do they choose what information that they want to share. The CAF process is aimed to be used when a teacher, the child concerned or their parent raises concerns about that child’s health, development, welfare, behaviour or progress in learning/wellbeing.
The information gathered enables an assessment to be made of what help is required and how it will be delivered and by whom. A Team around the Child (TAC) is then created to implement the requirements. The professionals that make a TAC vary from child to child depending on their needs and within the TAC a lead professional will have the responsibility to coordinate the work.
Describe the roles and responsibilities of the different organisations that may be involved when a child or young person has been abused or harmed.
When a child has been abused or harmed the first line response will be at the point of the allegation or discovery. This could happen in any number of settings, for example at school, in a medical setting or by a child calling child line. All of the agencies or organisations will need to work together but have their own roles in helping the child.
– Social Services have statutory responsibilities to provide support to vulnerable children and families in need. This may be after a death or when families are finding day to day life difficult. Most social workers are employed by social services.
– Health Visitors have a responsibility for the health of babies and young children under the age of five. They provide support and guidance to the
parents of young children and carry out assessments of the child’s development.
– General Practitioners (GPs) work in the community, usually from health centres, and are the gateway to other health services. GPs are often the first people to identify possible abuse when a child attends the surgery.
– Probation Services support people convicted of some offences to be rehabilitated into the community. They have a key role in monitoring people convicted of offences against children and should ensure that those people do not pose a threat to any local children.
– Police are involved in the criminal proceedings that may result from safeguarding issues.
– Schools and Training Organisations are key to identifying and supporting children between the ages of 5
– 18 years when they are in need of help. All staff working with children and young people should be trained in safeguarding and protection.
– Child Psychology Services will often be needed to support children who have experienced harm or abuse.