¢The concept of Parental Responsibility; ¢The ability for unmarried parents to share the responsibility of caring for the child by agreement with the other parent (predominantly the father getting agreement from the mother), though joint registration at birth and a court order; ¢The local authority to provide support and services to the children and their families; ¢The local authority to return a looked after child to their family unless it is against their best interests, and; ¢The local authority to promote contact between the looked after child and their family.
The idea of these new principles was to focus on the four Ps of the Act: Parental Responsibility, Paramount, Partnerships and Protection. The first of these Parental Responsibility is defined by the Act as the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property, and encompasses who has the responsibility for that child and how one goes about registering for the responsibility if the parents are unmarried.
The childs welfare is Paramount. When (future) parents make a court application for Parental Responsibility the court takes into account the childs welfare and establish directions for the handling of the case so that no prejudice is put upon the welfare of the child. This is of great importance for if the child is to have the best possible upbringing and a healthy growth it needs to have a paternal bond that will enforce the internal working model and build attachments and develop as quoted by people such as Piaget, Erricson, Bowlby and Answorth. One of the major changes within the law due to the Childrens Act 1989 resulted due to the Act having a significant effect upon the Partnerships in relation to the safeguarding and protection of a child.
One of the Acts main themes was to encourage a great co-operation between those deemed responsible for the child in question and the other agencies involved. This new section of the Act (Section 27) enabled local authority to request the assistance of any other authority, including health authorities. These three new principles all worked in unison and interlink to support the most important section: Protection. If the new principles were followed and worked then the child in question would be above all protected, the overall outcome of the Act. The Act was set out as a piece of safeguarding legislation for the very definition of safeguarding is: a measure taken to protect someone or something or to prevent something undesirable.
In 2004 the Childrens Act was revisited and revised after the Victoria Climbi incident in 2000. The most notable outcome of the 2004 revision was the Government Green Paper and the Every Child Matters policy. This policy sets out five outcomes that ensures every child, no matter their background or circumstances, have the support they need to:
¢Be healthy ¢Stay safe ¢Enjoy and achieve ¢Make positive contributions to society ¢Achieve economic well-being.
This is another piece of legislation that can be used in relation to the safeguarding of a child for if the five outcomes are met that child is protected and consequently safe. Of course, that said this is all speculation and while it may appear the child is safe from harm and/or abuse, abuse could still be happening. This is why the following pieces of legislation have also come into form and are used alongside one another to ensure a child is safe and protected:
¢Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, which ensures children with learning difficulties or disabilities are not discriminated against and receive the same protection and safeguarding as any other child; ¢Children and Young Peoples Act 2008, which ensures all children and young people receive social work services, accommodation, well-being, education, money and protection orders all of which ensure the child is safe and looked after; ¢Working Together to Safeguard Children, which came out of the Childrens Act 2004 and sets out how organisations (such as SACCS) and individuals should work together to safeguard and promote the childs welfare.
As well as all of the above, within the SACCS company there is a specific piece of legislation that focuses on safeguarding. This is the Safeguarding Policy 19.1. The aim of this policy is: to support the achievement of successful safeguarding from harm of the children in [our] care according to company protocols and procedures and in compliance with UK legislation. The idea of the policy is to ensure the five Every Child Matters outcomes are being met (7 for the Welsh children within the company), and that the 24 outcomes of the SACCS Recovery Programme are being met. The Safeguarding Policy is broken down into separate areas that includes:
¢Protocols ¢Allegations against an adult in the home ¢Allegations against a child or children ¢Suspicion of abuse by a third party ¢Safeguarding issues related to absconding, drug use and self-harm.
At the back of the policy there is a flow chart that explains the step-by-step protocols in relation to a safeguarding incident. Within each home there is also a similar diagram within the office. All of this is used by every carer within the house to ensure that every child that comes into the care of the house is looked after at all times and that protocols and UK laws and legislations are being met. As a result should a safeguarding issue arise the staff will be aware and know how to safely and effectively deal with it. The staff will also be able to ensure that each and every child is cared for in a safe and effective way as fitting their care plans and IRPs.