Children and young people under 18 years of age are an especially vulnerable. Whilst it is parents and carers who have primary care for their children, local authorities, working with partner organisations and agencies, have specific duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in their area. All children have the right to a safe, loving, and stable childhood.
Whilst it is parents and carers who have primary care for their children, local authorities have overarching responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children and young people in their area. They have a number of statutory functions under the 1989 and 2004 Children Acts (Crown copyright 2018). Everyone that has contact with children has a role to play in making sure that children are safe and cared for.
There have been different legislations put into place to protect children and young people. All children and young people have rights to be protected from all forms of physical or mental violence, neglect, negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation including sexual abuse and injury caused by those looking after them. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 is a legally-binding international agreement setting out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of every child, regardless of their race, religion or abilities. The UK signed the convention on 19 April 1990, sanctioned it on 16 December 1991 and it came into force on 15 January 1992. Since ratification of the UNCRC in 1991, implementation of the Convention has been pursued through legislation and policy initiatives, including the Children Act 1989, Children Act 2004, Every Child Matters and policy for 0-19 year olds set out in the Government’s 2007 Children’s Plan. The Children Act 1989 was the main legislation governing child protection procedures. Local Authority has a duty to investigate if it is suspected that a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm.
Due to several high profile child abuse cases in recent years, including the death of eight-year-old Victoria Climbie, the child protection system has faced major reforms. The Children Act 2004 provides the legal framework for Every Child Matters. Every Child Matters covers the well-being of children from birth to age 19. The five outcomes which mattered most to children and young people were: being healthy, staying safe, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution and economic well-being. The Government aim is for every child, whatever their background or circumstances, to have the support they need. It includes that services have to work more closely together, forming an integrated service. The Green Paper proposed changes in policy and legislation in England to maximise opportunities and reduce the risks for all children and young people, concentrating services more around the needs of children, young people and families.
The Act places a duty on local authorities to make arrangements where key agencies co-operate to improve the well-being of children and young people, to ensure that safeguarding children continues to be given priority.Working Together to Safeguard Children 2006, sets out the duties of organisations and that they need to work together to safeguard children and young people. The professionals need work together to improve the chid, young person’s life and they must respect and listen to what they have to say involving all parties when making decisions. Working together to Safeguard Children has recently been updated in July 2018, there have been 3 main changes which are Multi-agency safeguarding arrangements, Child death reviews and Local and national safeguarding practice reviews.
The Education Act 2002, sets out the responsibilities of Local Education Authorities (LEAs), Governing bodies, head teachers and all those working in schools to make sure that children are safe and free from harm. All schools are required by law to teach a broad and balanced curriculum which promotes the spiritual, moral and cultural development of pupils and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life. On the 1st July 2015 all schools had a responsibility to protect children from radicalisation and extremism.
Schools should help to protect children from extremist and violent views in the same ways that they help to safeguard children from drugs, gang violence or alcohol. Staff can help to identify, and make a referral to the relevant agencies, for children whose behaviour suggests that they are being drawn in to terrorism or extremism.