Explain the critical importance of poverty in affecting outcomes and life chances: Experiencing poverty does not only affect children and young people in the immediate term but also goes onto affect them into adulthood, in other words children and young people do not adapt to this living environment. Poverty shows its damage to Children or young people in different outcomes such as Education & Health.
Education – Research tells us that children and young people from poor families are lower down in their levels of education across all stages of the curriculum. A gap of nine months (on average) in learning shows poorer children to be behind that of Children coming from wealthy families when both groups of children are only 3 years of age (the brain is at this age is 80% developed). This gap increases as children remaining in poverty become older when compared to children of the same age that come from more affluent backgrounds.
By the age of 11 Children who receive free school meals (sometimes their only meal of the day as children can suffer from malnutrition as a result of poverty) are estimated to be nearly 3 times behind that of children classed as living outside of poverty and alarmingly as the child becomes older the gap in attaining a good level of education increases until they finish secondary school. In addition children from low income families cannot afford to go on school trips they can’t invite friends around for tea.
Health – Poverty is linked with increased illnesses e.g. children from wealthier families should not be exposed to damp living conditions. Bad housing causes over-crowded sleeping conditions and along with other factors can have a mental and physical developmental affect to the child or young person. Premature death is found to be higher as this can have an effect from as early as the unborn baby and goes right into adulthood (professionals live, on average, 8 years longer when compared to unskilled workers).
The damage that poverty causes all interlinks, bad housing causing lack of sleep effects concentration levels at school, sickness causes more days from school, social and language skills not built on by not having friends come to tea – home learning, these are only a few examples but still show that they all have an effect on a child or young persons education/development in one way or another. Poor education is linked to un-employment or low income, (this could lead to criminal activity), unemployment/low income is linked to poverty and thus a repeated cycle. 1.3
Analyse a strategic national or local policy that has positive impact on outcomes and life chances for children and young people: The Child Poverty Act obtained Royal Assent on 25 March 2010. This legislation ensures sustained action must be taken to tackle child poverty by this, and future, governments, by the devolved administrations and by local government and their partners. Measuring success
The Act sets four challenging UK-wide targets to be met by 2020. These targets are based on the proportion of children living in: relative low income (whether the incomes of the poorest families are keeping pace with the growth of incomes in the economy as a whole) – target is less than ten per cent combined low income and material deprivation (a wider measure of people’s living standards) – target is less than five per cent absolute low income (whether the poorest families are seeing their income rise in real terms) – target is less than five per cent persistent poverty (length of time in poverty) – target is to be set in regulations by 2015 1.4
Explain why strategic direction from national and local policy is required to address factors impacting on outcomes and life chances for children and young people: Strategic direction from national and local policy is required to ensure it reaches every child and young person, by initially completing policy on a national level will allow every factor that has a negative impact on a child’s outcome and is/or detrimental to their life chances to be included as it is has been completed across the nation (taking into account various reports and completed research projects) and not pockets of areas which may not give the whole picture or areas that need to be addressed – ensuring a more accurate outcome and more detailed information to learn from.
All children should be offered the same opportunities. Local policy will be based on national policy but with information relevant to the local area (e.g. contact details, list of professional bodies etc.) Children centres (Sure Start) compare statistics and report them into local government, such as dental hygiene and feed this information back into local government this information can identify the most deprived areas in their county such Staple Hill and Cadbury Heath for South Gloucestershire, the remaining Sure Start centres can then be identified to be located for the most disadvantaged and support and resources concentrated into these centres. 2. Understand how poverty and disadvantage affect children and young people’s development. 2.1
Analyse how poverty and disadvantage may affect children and young people: To touch on points raised under section 1; Physical Development – bad housing and over-crowding can effect a child’s or young person’s physical development in terms of growth, particularly over-crowding in beds. Physical activity is restricted due to the increase of illness or disability – up to 25% increase in comparison to a child not living in poverty. Social and emotional Development – Socially a child or young person can suffer as poverty restricts a child being able to make friends, teasing can occur due to a how a child is dressed and presented.
Clothes can smell due to poor living conditions (damp & mould). Behaviour issues such as hyperactivity and impulsivity are also linked to living in poverty, this will affect the ability to make or keep relations with both peers and teachers. Many children are aware of their parent’s financial situation and worry causing them to suffer increased stress levels, due to the child’s awareness of the burden of financial hardship the child is likely to keep these feelings to him/herself. Mental Health issues such as anxiety and depression are 3 to 4 times more likely to occur when again compared to their peers not suffering from living in poverty. These issues in adult hood can result in difficulties in forming relationships or the need to feel accepted can mean the choice to form “unhealthy” relationship/s.
Communication development – This is found to be delayed in children living in poverty – friendships not forming, unable to invite friends around to their house all aids communication skills without these home learning experiences may contribute to delayed speech development. Parents will have an impact on a child’s communication development. Interaction with parents maybe reduced Intellectual development learning – Research tells us that the cognitive development of a child is greatly reduced when compared to that of a child that is in a warm, loving, authoritive, learning environment.
Evidence shows that the brain growth of a child just at the age of 2 is hugely under developed when compared to that of a child that receives these factors. 3. Understand the importance of early intervention for children and young people who are disadvantaged and vulnerable: 3.1 Explain what is meant by both disadvantage and vulnerability: Disadvantage – An unfavourable condition or circumstance or something that places one in an unfavourable condition or circumstance – examples are shown in 1.1
Vulnerability – “The risk of physical or emotional harm/injury” – again examples of these is show in answer 1.1 3.2 Explain the importance of early intervention for disadvantaged and/or vulnerable children and young people Research tells us that early intervention is crucial in a child’s life, providing the right amount of social and emotional exposure allows a child between the ages of 0-3 years reach their full potential, at the age of 22 months a child’s educational level can be a predicator of their educational achievements at the age of 26 years, thus reducing unemployment and low paid income jobs and therefore better living conditions.
This right level of exposure also assists older children in becoming good parents, being good parents and “what they do” is more important in a child’s early life than wealth, class, education or any other common social factor (leads into providing their child/children with the correct social and emotional exposure.
To add to my statement in section 1 – a baby is born with 25% of the brain and by the age of 3 the brain is at 80%, this is a very fast development rate and any bad parenting or neglect can impact a child’s emotional wellbeing into adulthood. Adults found to be “at risk” when at the age of 3 are found to have 2.5 times more convictions when compared to adults who were not “at risk” at the same age of 3 , early intervention would reduce this along with improved mental and physical health, teenage pregnancy, substance abuse and violence – the poverty cycle is being broken. 3.3 Evaluate the impact of early intervention (to follow on from 3.2);
Early intervention is crucial as this helps to assist children and their families who need that extra support sometimes in areas – financial as well as socially and emotionally. Providing additional resources (e.g. Health visitors) and financial aid from the government is vital to be able to provide the necessary focus/advice/support groups that can be for children or for the family unit, the range of expertise help goes across the board and has been set up so that help can be offered to suit the child’s/children’s and families own circumstances.
Providing early intervention tackles escalating issues that lead into a child’s adult life, e.g. a child with learning difficulties will need support and extra help, without this the child will feel frustrated which will result in behavioural problems, if ignored the cycle will continue and may lead to exclusion/ leaving school early. This will probably have a negative effect on the child’s future, examples of this are drug abuse or seeking employment, the adult may then turn to crime and the result will be prison. Therefore early intervention is crucial as it gives the child the opportunity to meet his full potential and this will allow the child to gain the best possible outcome and life chances.
Research also tells us that families with disabled children or complex health needs welcomed early support by professional bodies, this expertise again benefits the child’s wellbeing and future along with the family as a whole.
4. Understand the importance of support and partnership in improving outcomes for young people and children who are experiencing poverty and disadvantage: 4.1 Research the policy and guidance on impacting on support services at national level, and evaluate how this operates at local level: I have researched policies (Graham Allen Review, Children Plan policy and Every Child Matters) and the impact of support services, one policy in particular (the children’s plan policy), the basis of the policy has come from the ECM policy which underpins all policies such as the EYFS framework, Multi agencies working together etc..
The Children Plan policy talks about the role of parent partnerships in helping to eradicating child poverty by their role in helping their children to reach their full learning potential. This policy is now archived mainly due to the closure of numerous Surestart centres, however whilst completing this assignment I have am aware of the government’s plan to increase family practise nurses – over 4,000. My setting is located on the same premises as a Surestart centre and we are in close contact with the centre often sharing information, so I know the benefits they offer and support it offers to parents/carers, however on reflection the surestart centres are reliant on the “needing” to visit their centres and this maybe where they fall short, as I would suggest it is the most needing that shy away from attending.
I can therefore see how there needs to be balance, a contact FPN (family practice nurse) engaging and visiting families that do access these facilities by visiting their home, the first steps is taken, next by gaining trust, advice can then be given on support within the wider network such as support classes held with the surestart centres. Local government are using the remaining centres to provide availability for the most disadvantaged/vulnerable 2 year olds that will be eligible for the two year old funding with the aim to break the poverty cycle and with the family practice nurses targeting their families from their most deprived areas. This works if the family practise nurse is an expert in her field and the government have provided enough FPN’s to cover the need. 4.2 Explain how carers can be engaged in strategic planning of services: By working together parents and carers can engage in the strategic planning of services with practitioners and other professional’s.
The parent and carer is vital in supporting a child’s development, they are often the child’s first experience and act as the child’s role model in life. Parents/carers can help identify early on any learning needs, this will help to highlight any areas of learning difficulties, by doing this a plan of action (e.g. permission given for additional observations, assessments and meetings) can be agreed upon by all parties which will aid in supporting the child’s development.
To assist practitioners and themselves, courses and/or classes are available through support groups, such as SureStart for parents and carers, this will help with understanding the importance of supporting services, this can be areas such as the importance of home learning (up to 70% of the EYFS framework cane par be learnt/experienced in a supportive home learning environment) and making positive relations between parent/s and their child, again of which will help in the planning and outcome of a child’s development. If circumstances are that thent or carer is under multi-agency involvement the parents can feel over whelmed and anxious so in these situation good relations between parties are vital as this will aid parental co-operation.
It is important to note that to make partnerships successful clear and concise communication back to the parent is key, practitioners and multi-agencies should share all relevant information, this can be done in forms of questionnaires, feedback forms, key worker appointment, group meetings etc. CAF (common assessment framework) can help support children, it can identify the correct professional to help with extra support. THE CAF is voluntary, parents/carers can choose to be involved, they also have a say who they would like to help co-ordinate their action plan.
This plan will record what is working well for their child/family, signs of progress are the biggest motivator and will show parents/carers the importance of being engaged in the strategic planning processes. 4.3 Analyse how practitioners can encourage carers to support children and young people’s learning and development: Following on from 4.2 – Practitioners can offer encouragement through keyworker meetings, newsletters, being readily approachable, parent’s evenings, information hand-outs, “WOW” slips and information on the settings website. Practitioners and settings should also be knowledgeable on other professional bodies, know how they can help and what they can offer to carers/parents along with contact details and have the other bodies information leaflets so that they can be given to parents if needed.
It is important for settings to be in partnership with parents so that home learning works alongside their learning steps whilst in pre-school, this can be detailed within the child’s learning journal. It is also important to know the child, this knowledge will improve relations with parents forming an element of trust, which should then help the practitioner to guide and encourage the parent and carer to further support their child’s development. 4.4 Explain how interface with adult services is structured so the needs of children and young people whose carers are users of services are taken into account: For example, Surestart centres are structured for the needs of the adults and the children in their care as they are often on the same grounds or very near local schools and are easily accessible to the community.
The adults are able to attend practical courses that often involve their children. They have fabulous resources and stimulating rooms that are centred around children of the early year’s age group. They also have amazing out door areas. The centres are a centre point in providing information help and support to all adults and will contact other professional bodies for the adults if needs be, they also offer courses within their centres.
They run groups that cater for adults with children for example, father/male carer and child day, foster carers and toddler groups, parenting classes. 5. Understand the role of the practitioner in supporting children and young people who are vulnerable and experiencing poverty and disadvantage. 5.1 Explain how positive practice with children and young people who are experiencing poverty and disadvantage may increase resilience and self-confidence. Children from a background of poverty or disadvantage may not experience positive interaction whilst at home.
This may cause self-confidence issues and/or low self-esteem. Positive interaction from practitioner’s maybe the only positive interaction they receive. Through learning and achievements at pre-school will start to build confidence and a child’s own belief that they can do it and do have the skills and abilities to successfully face and complete challenges. This success will encourage and promote self-belief and may increase a child’s resilience should they suffer negative interaction whilst at home. Positive practice also builds on a child’s social and emotional skills, areas that may be under developed due to poor parenting this self confidence will also lead onto assist in their educational achievements. 5.2
Explain why it is important for practitioners to have high expectations of and ambitions for all children and young people regardless of their background and circumstances. Children and young people regardless of their background should be whilst attending good early year’s settings as it helps promote development and help combat gaps in areas such as social skills. The EPPE report shows that by the time children leave pre-school the developments gaps between their peers (from a wealthier background) evens out as the child starts primary school.
High expectations and ambitions allows a practitioner and child ascertain their learning boundaries and a pre-empted low expectation of a child due to background can result in the child not achieving their full potential. Every child should be given the same opportunities regardless of class or background. 5.3 Analyse how and why practitioners should act as agents and facilitators of change in own work setting. Practitioners acts as agents and facilitators by accepting and understanding the need for change, this can be following partnership with parents/carers, revised and/or new policies that need to be implemented, working with other professional agencies. It can also be done through professional development as a result of peer observations.
Policies can either be updated or newly published, these policies are released after research and studies being completed, new policies, such as the Poverty act 2010 or the new EYFS framework will be issued with the best interest of the child and/or families in mind. These changes are therefore necessary to be implemented by the practitioners for the benefit of their keyworker children. Without adjusting or implementing change or practices could be damaging to the child/children.
Changes may also be necessary due to interventions with other agencies – such as a CAF report, these changes maybe be individual to the child but found necessary after conclusion made by other professionals. We are continually learning on the best approaches and the support/changes that should be offered to children suffering poverty and vulnerability, if the practitioner is unwilling to make these changes at the first step the child will continue to be deprived of the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Courtney from Study Moose
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