Importance Of Child Protection And Safeguarding: Developing Policies For Children, Families, And Practitioners
The Impact of Child Abuse on Children
In the current world, it is becoming more frequent to hear about cases of child abuse. These cases are worse because the families who are supposed to protect these children are broken. Also, the practitioners who work in child services are not as efficient as they should be thus they do not protect the children (Munro 2011). It’s no surprise that the family is the foundation of a child’s well-being. Children who grow up in warm, nurturing and stable households gain a lot of positives. From childhood to teenage years and all through adulthood, these kids are fitter, show less behavioural issues, partake in drug use less commonly, do well at school and while they are employed, and are less probable to end up being arrested and in jail. Also, in the case where the kid does not have a regular family setting, for their good, there are child protective services. These agencies will ensure that the children will be okay and safe. They also find families who can take in these children and foster the ensuring their lives are influenced positively (Doyle Jr 2008). Thus to make sure that the good of the child is always in the foreground, policies should be developed to cover this. This is a report of a conversation I had with a fellow early childhood undergraduate academic where we discussed intensely on how policies which focus on supporting practitioners, children and families to flourish influences children and their families and also its implications to those in child welfare services.
In my opinion, it is necessary for such a policy to be in place because it is a reality that there are children who are being abused right now and this policy will aid them. Also, it will act as an intervention in cases where the abuse can predict thus making it possible to protect the children from harm. Such a policy will provide a framework which can prevent and fight against various forms of abuse. Also, in my view, will act as a deterrence for those who abuse children as the policy sets out steps to be taken in such case. Hence they will know the penalties they will face if caught. It is my opinion that people will not want to face these penalties and this avoid abusing their children (Ferguson and Norton 2011).
Also, as the policy is compiled in a public document, many people will know about its contents. Thus this will ensure that the children know their rights and what steps to take when they are faced with abuse. It also sets out a clear chain of command to follow to ensure that every child’s rights are protected and safeguarded. Finally, according to me, a policy will let everyone know what their responsibility is in the matter of child protection and safeguarding (Parton 2010).
Importance of Policies in Protecting Children
According to him, there are various principles which can help those coming up with policies to develop them to benefit children, families and those working in child welfare to flourish. The first principle is that everyone should know that the safety of children is all of their responsibility. He said that it would ensure that each person knows they have a role to play in ensuring children flourish, from their families to those who work in child welfare. The second principle is that parents or guardians of children should be respected and be included in decisions that concern their families. In his opinion, when there is respect for the parents and agencies who work with children, I would ensure that there is communication between concerned parties and that everything done will benefit everyone (Healy and Darlington 2009).
The next principle is that he said that there should be accountability. It will ensure that when these policies are implemented every concerned party will be held accountable for their actions. They should know that when they break the rules, there are consequences. It should also ensure that the institutions that care for children are continually assessed for their ability to care for the children (Darlington, Healy and Feeney 2010). Also, he said another principle acknowledges that every child and family has a distinctive set of fortes and issues and thus creates protection policies that enhance those fortes while solving the problems. Hence this will ensure that families in different situations benefit from it entirely and therefore it is not discriminatory. The next principle according to him is to ensure that there will be interagency cooperation. It would ensure that all sectors concerned with the child are involved regarding coming up with policies that protect the child’s interests and ensure that all parties are involved (Gilbert, Parton and Skivenes 2011).
In my view, such a policy should contain various elements to make it as useful as possible and thus serve its purpose. Some of these include; it should raise awareness of issues involved in child protection and safeguard among those around the children. Also ensuring children have skills and methods, they will use so that they can stay safe. I see this as necessary because it makes sure that everyone involved knows what dangers the child might face, and when they see this, they can intervene. Also, if there is no adult around the child can take steps to protect themselves (Fattore, Mason and Watson 2009). The next element I thought should be included in the policy is it should give an environment where children and teenagers feel that they are safe, protected, respected and have the freedom to approach adults in case of any problems. With this environment, children who are in danger of abuse or have unstable home environment have a place to go when all things go wrong. They will also feel free to let know those adults when they do not feel safe at home, and thus interventions can take place. I also thought those adults who interact with children at different institutions like schools and community centres had been vetted for their suitability. In my opinion, this ensures that the children are safe from predators who take advantage of this access to abuse children. Thus by vetting them, it ensures that those in contact with children such as teachers have the best interest of kids in mind (Livingstone, Haddon, Görzi and Ólafsson 2011).
Principles for Developing Child Protection Policies
Another element that according to me should be included in the policy is the training of child welfare workers and even those adults around the children on how to recognise, respond to and give help to those children and adults that are vulnerable. These children and adults may be in need of safeguarding, and thus when these people are adequately trained, they can get interventions in time. It will also help those working in child protective services to do their work well and prevent incidences where children in need are overlooked (Roberts 2017). The policy, in my view, should also provide a framework for reporting cases of abuse in families. This will ensure that there is a procedure to follow when there are cases, and thus nothing will fall through the cracks when they are reported. It will result in all those facing abuse getting help as fast as possible. It will also ensure there is accountability in the system (Zolotor et al 2009). Another essential part of the policy is that it should include ways to give support to families who have problems and challenges. When this is provided, in my view, it will reduce cases of neglect as the families will know where to go for support when they are facing challenges. With this type of support, it will ensure that they can have a shot at succeeding and flourishing in future. Finally, I thought the policy should involve ways in which bodies engaged in child protection can work together to make this happen. It will make it easier if they have a working relationship as it would ensure that everything works smoothly and faster. It would benefit these agencies and child protective services as it would make their work more accessible if they work in collaboration (Warmington, Edwards, Gallagher, Leadbetter and Daniels 2009).
According to him, there various reasons that necessitate the creation of such policies. Some of these reasons include; first is the most common cause which is the increased cases of child abuse. There are various kinds of abuse that a child could face, physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and emotional abuse. Physical abuse is where the child is beaten and battered causing them bodily harm. Sexual abuse is where the child is sexually assaulted especially by those around them who are meant to keep them safe. Neglect is where a child’s basic needs are not provided by those who are meant to do so and also when no one prevents the child from being harmed. Emotional abuse is where psychological distress is intentionally inflicted on a child (Munro 2010). According to current research, he said that an average of four children loses their lives daily in America due to child abuse and neglect. Also, 1 in every 58 children face some abuse in America; this results in 1.25 million children suffering some abuse (DuMont et.al 2008). Another reason he gave for the creation of these policies is that when children experience abuse and exploitation, they get traumatised. They are adversely affected by these situations. According to him, it would impact the development and growth of the child negatively when they are abused hence the need o this policy to prevent this. It would reduce the chance of children facing long-term effect of abuse when the policies are used right to prevent cases of abuse or to intervene where abuse is already occurring. Currently, according to him, every year approximately more than three million cases of referrals are made to child protective services. Ths translates to more than six million children reported (Sedlak et al 2010).
Elements of a Comprehensive Child Protection Policy
Another reason why he thought these policies need to be formulated is to regulate those agencies meant to protect children. Most of the agencies, he said, which are supposed to protect children do not do so efficiently, and thus many children face abuse even if their cases have been reported to these agencies. Therefore the policies will be able to hold them accountable, and it will provide a clear framework on how to handle cases of child abuse. He gave an example of statistics showing that of the more than six million cases of child abuse reported to the agencies yearly, only less than half of that was investigated and dealt with. It is a worrying statistic thus necessitating the policy on child protection and safeguarding (Lonne, Parton, Thomson and Harries 2008).
My thoughts on this were that such a policy would have various effects on a child. Some of the effects include; first children would feel safe because such a policy is meant to protect them. This policy provides precise ways in which they are protected in every way possible, and in case there is abuse they have a way in which they can ask for and receive the help they require. Another impact is that children are given skills on how to deal with any difficulties they face. Thus whenever they get in trouble, the children would know what to do even if no adult is present. Therefore ensuring that they are not too vulnerable. Next, in my view, those children who have been removed from an abusive environment are guaranteed not to be put in similar situations. With this policy, all the adults who will be around the child need to be vetted for suitability.hence when they are placed with foster families or group homes, it ensures they are not in danger of being abused once more. It will hold everyone accountable for their action hence ensuring that the child is safe after the intervention (Forrester and Harwin 2011).
He said that in his opinion that such a policy would have both positive and negative effects on families. The first effect he spoke about is that as the policy was designed to protect children at all cost, the adults around the child face a lot of scrutinies even when it’s not necessary. Every action is suspicious even without merit hence making it difficult to parent children anymore. As most hospitals have to log in children who are brought in with injuries so that it can be investigated if it’s a case of abuse, it sometimes makes it hard for the parent. Thus it will sometimes cause the parents avoid hospitals as they do not want to be scrutinised (Lewig, Arney and Salveron 2010). According to him, there have been many cases where an explainable injury has been mistaken for child abuse. Thus many parents feel that they will be seen as guilty of abuse until proven innocent (Guterman, Lee, Taylor and Rathouz 2009). On the other hand, he said that it would positively influence families in that in the policy there is a stipulation where they will get support when they feel they are facing a lot of challenges. According to him, the families can use it when it gets too much for them. Hence, they can get the support until they can make get back on their feet. It results in a reduction of cases of neglect and abuse as everyone is happy and supported (Garbarino 2017).
In my view, such a policy would impact child protective agencies in many ways such as; one as the policy gives way for people to report cases of abuse, they will be able to gather much information on child abuse. It provides a clearer picture of what is happening, and the dangers children are facing. Thus, I think this would provide them with information that will aid in creating interventions against these cases of abuse and thus reducing the incidences as much as possible. An increase in reporting of child abuse cases does not mean that there is an upsurge in child abuse, it means that more and more people are no longer tolerating it (Barry 2003). Another impact I think this policy would have is that it would help while looking for good, trustworthy employees who put the interest of children first. As this policy stipulates on how people should be vetted for their suitability to interact with children, it will ensure the safety of the children. When the employees are good, and there are cases reported on the abuse, they will ensure to investigate 100% of the cases. Hence this will prevent cases where some cases are just ignored without investigation because employees feel it’s not that serious or is plain lazy. All in all the agency and children will benefit (Forrester, McCambridge, Waissbein and Rollnick 2008).
In conclusion, child abuse is a real problem in the whole world. There are a lot of cases where their families abuse children. Abuse comes in many forms, not just physical abuse. The children who are subjected to abuse will suffer the longterm effect of this. Therefore, policies such as the child protection and safeguarding policy of 2010 should be implemented. According to the conversation I had with my fellow academic, there is a lot to be considered when coming up with policies especially when they concern children. There are principles which should be considered while developing policies. Also, it should be noted that these policies will have various impacts on all parties in the policy. There are two theoretical perspectives relevant to early childhood that have been put into consideration while developing such a policy. The first perspective is the interactionist’s view of child development. It is where the policy is made in such a way that it involves the children in the solution. It considers children and their environment and acknowledges that those around them affect them. Thus as a way of protecting them, their environment should be vetted. They are also given skills so that they can defend themselves (Hart 2013). Another view is the behaviourist view of child development. In the policy, it accepts that those who are around they shape children. Hence why vetting those who interact with them. Also, it shows why it is necessary to take children from a dangerous environment and place them in good homes. It will influence their development positively if those around them behave well (Shapiro and Stefkovich 2010).
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