Child protection: Evaluation of policies and procedures influenced by legislation and historical context. Throughout this evaluation I aim to identify the positive and negative factors that support and influence the formation and structure of our policies and procedures; surrounding safeguarding and child protection. We cannot understand current procedures for child protection unless we understand past experience and how lessons from history have informed current practice. Safeguarding has been a major feature of the governments practice for many decades. Over the years, the deaths of children have driven changes in policy and practice in child protection in the UK. While laws protecting children have existed throughout the 20th century, the most significant act in place is the Children’s Act (1989). The act underpins many of the child protection procedures and structures that we use today. This includes a good working practise between practitioners and staff and ensuring that the needs of the children are central; that they are put first, as acknowledged in the opening statement of the settings ‘Safeguarding policy’ (Appendix 1 ) ‘the health, safety and protection of all children in our care are of paramount importance to all staff’. Over the last two decades due to horrific cases of child abuse there has been a call for radical reforms of child protection services within England. The death of Victoria Climbié (2000) led to an inquiry by lord laming (2003). The outcome of the report highlighted that the death represented a gross failure of the system of public agencies responsible for protecting vulnerable children from deliberate harm. When looking at the issue of child protection we have to understand that in the current climate we have range of statutory requirements such as the Early Years Foundation Stage (2012), which is then interpreted into different manifestoes by each setting, thus leading to a convoluted playing field. In 2003 the government published a Green Paper called Every Child Matters. The recommendations from the Laming report (2003) were taken into account in the writing of the Green Paper. The proposals aimed for the creation of a framework of universal services. The Children Act 2004 put in place the legislation necessary that developing services needed to ensure the key elements identified by the Every Child Matters green paper (2003) transpired. Disappointingly history was to repeat itself with the case of Peter Connelly (2008) where social services were criticised for repeatedly missing opportunities to protect him. Evidently it can be suggested that overlapping policies and agencies involved in these cases failed to collaborate proactively with an overriding sense of systematic confusion. Responsibility is spread thinly across a broad range of services which in turn facilitates errors with each practitioner believing that the next practitioner will spot mistakes. This can occur in any setting when communication breaks down. For example within our setting it can be observed that colleagues are required to sign a declaration upon receipt of updated procedures and to read through policies on a monthly basis. Whilst this can distribute responsibility in a formal fashion it does not necessary ensure that the information is absorbed by each person. This can be addressed at monthly team meetings whereby the lead practitioner will read the policy update to the group. As team meetings are already in place this will have no impact upon resources, it is therefore a highly feasible option. It would be beneficial to retain the previous system of collecting signatures to retain the formal gravitas associate with this. The overall aim or intent of a ‘Safeguarding policy’ should state what you want the policy to achieve and should consider your staff, children, parents and anyone else who uses your setting. Relevant documentation such as the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2012,)...
References: Carpenter, J., Patsios, D., Szilassy, E. and Hackett, S. (2011) Connect, Shareand Learn: A Toolkit for Evaluating the Outcomes of Inter-Agency Training to
Department for Children, Schools and Families. (2009) Safeguarding children researchinitiativehttp://www.dcsf.gov.uk/research/programmeofresearch/index.cfm?type=0
Rose, W and Barnes, J. (2008) Improving safeguarding practice: Study of Serious Case Reviews 2001-2003. London: Department for Children Schools and Families.
Stein, M. (2009) Quality Matters in Children’s Services: Messages from research.
University of Stirling and Action for Children in collaboration with
University of Dundee and STRADA (2012) Childhood Neglect: Improving
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