Prior to the children’s acts of 1989 and 2004 were put in place, there were many pieces of childcare legislation which were thought to be far too complex and incomplete for the needs of children, their families and the professionals working with them. As society’s ideas were changing towards child abuse for example more people were becoming aware of its existence and were no longer prepared to “bury there heads in the sand about it. It was clear that the existing legislation had to be updated. Another reason for this was the reports into the deaths of Jasmine Beckford and Kimberly Carlile and Tyra Henry as an inquiry into the handling of alleged child sexual abuse in Cleveland.
Human Rights Act, 1998
His act came into force in October 2000 and details the basic rights of people in our society. The act outlines rules to order and protect every person. The rules include right to life, protection from slavery, right to education and the right to marriage. The human rights act is vital in keeping our society fair and equal as possible and fortunately most of us do not have any idea what it would be like with such regulations.
United Nations Convention on the rights of the child, 1989.
Children have rights and there is legislation to protect their rights. The United Nations Convention on the rights of the child has 54 articles containing the right of children. The 54 articles within the CRC address children’s right to:
Special Educational Need and Disability Act 2001
This act has two parts. Part 1 makes reforms to earlier legislation and gives right to children with special educational needs to assess mainstream education where they were formerly educated primarily in specialist school for moderate and severe learning difficulties and specialist units. Part 2 of the act which increases the civil rights of disabled children and adults in schools and further and higher education – giving them rights to equal assess and the right to inclusion.
Children Act, 1989
This act came into force in October 1991. it is one of the most important reform of the law concerning children over the last century. It made the law simpler and easier to use. It bought together the legislation concerning the care and upbringing of children in both private law, which applies to children affected by a private dispute such as divorce proceedings. The five principles underpinning the act were as follows:
* At all times, the welfare of the child must be the paramount consideration.
* A new concept of parental responsibility
* The no order principle, whereby courts are instructed not to make statutory orders unless they are satisfied that the only way to safeguard the first principle is to make such and order.
* The no delay principle, where children are involved in cases before court, the court must set a timetable and ensure that the case is heard as quickly as possible.
* The principles of corporate responsibility and partnership.
Children Act, 2004
Built on principles of the act 1989 act, and following the Children’s Bill, the 2004 Act is part of a wider programme of change set out in the green paper Every Child Matters. The Act amends sections 17, 20 and 47 of former Children Act and includes a new framework of duties and accountabilities to develop high quality services including:
* Closer joint working between various agencies involved with children.
* Wishes of the children to be taken into account
* Greater sharing of information between processionals through databases
* Limits on the use of reasonable chastisement
* A children’s Commissioner for England
* Better information-sharing between practionators
* Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards, of which there are 150, set up with statutory powers to replace Area Child Protection Committees in 2006
* Groups to review unexpected child deaths in their area.
* Improved local accountability.
* A duty on local authorities to promote the educational achievement of looked after children.
Every Child Matters (Green paper)
On 8th September 2003, the government launched the long-awaited Green Paper Every Child Matters. Improved information sharing across agencies had been called for as result of the inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbie in 2000. Victoria’s death highlighted need for more effective communication and sharing.
The Green Paper listed five key outcomes for children :
* Being healthy
* Staying safe
* Enjoying and achieving
* Making a positive contribution.
* Economic wellbeing
* Ensure children are safe form bulling and homelessness
* The Sure Start project
* Tackling child poverty
* Raising school standards
* Improving children’s access to health services
* More investment in the youth service
Protection of Children act, 1999
Protection and supervision of children Act, 2004
Protection of children and Vulnerable Adults order, 2003
This is a list of adults known to be unsuitable to work with children. All settings are required by law to consult this list via the Criminal Records Bureau. The act also made it illegal to knowingly apply for a job if you already have been found unsuitable to work with children and or vulnerable adults.
Data Protection Act, 1998
This act applies to the protection and security of all forms of data, this includes written and spoken information, and information stored on film, video or tape recording or on computer. The act safeguards people’s rights when information about them is being collected as in a case of protection or assessment of need. The act covers: obtaining data, recording data, storing data, accessing data, using data, sharing data, disposing of data.