In order to answer this criterion I am going to describe the main reasons why children and young people may need to be looked after and kept away from their families. We use the term 'looked after' when we arrange for children to live away from their families, either as part of a voluntary arrangement under the 1989 Children Act, or as the result of a care order under the 1989 Children Act. Often this can be a short term break and other times it can a long term break depending on the circumstances of the family and the child's personal needs.
Children's Act 1989
The Children Act 1989 is designed to facilitate to keep children safe and well and, if necessary, help a child to live with their family by providing services which fits correctly to the child's needs.
The Children Act 1989 covers the following:
* Improvements to the law relating to children;
* Makes provision for local authority services for children in need and others;
* Amends the law with respect to children's homes, community home, voluntary homes and voluntary organisations;
* Makes provision with respect to fostering, child minding and day care for young children and adoption, and for connected purposes.
Often a child or a young person can be sent away or needs to leave home because of issues related to their family or to themselves. There can be many reasons, for example, the family may be unable to care for the child because of an accident or the child's difficult behaviour patterns that causes the family stress and unable to cope with this issue. The child may also have a risk of living at home because they might be abused or exploited and need to be cared for away from home from the family for reasons of health and safety.
Two family related reasons why a child may be sent away:
1. Bereavement and upheaval
Looked-after children are often very vulnerable as they have faced a great deal of upheaval and disruption in their lives. They might have been affected by damaged experiences such as abuse and neglect. There may have been traumatic experiences within the family such as bereavement and may have learned to internalise their chaotic emotions. As a result, sometimes individuals have a difficult time with their education and often fall behind in class.
2. Parental illness or family breakdown
Children and young people may be looked after because of parents who sometimes may be unwell or unable to cope and the child may return to the family at home sometime in the future if the situation improves. In the mean time they spend time with foster parents or in a children's home or a residential school. Family breakdowns happen for a wide range of reasons; this can include bereavement, parental illness, incapacity, mental health problems or even substance abuse. Some children who may have been abused need to be removed from that kind of situation for their own safety and health. These kinds of situations sometimes result in the child needing sensitive care and then later they may require therapy to support them and help them come to terms with what has happened to them.
Two child/young person related reasons why a child may be sent away:
1. Health problems
A child or young person may need to leave their family home because of their own health problems, they may have a serious illness or condition, learning difficulties, disability or a condition which makes it complicated for them to live in their family home. Sometimes alternative arrangements must be made for long- or short-term care. The care required might be specific so that the child would benefit from the use of specialist resources, which may only be available outside the family home.
2. Learning difficulties
There are many families in the UK who have children and young people who have learning difficulties. Some families find it a great difficulty to cope with this and neglect the child. In cases such as this it is better for the child to be looked after outside the family home. This may only be temporary but in many cases since the child requires specialist assistance it may be permanent. Temporary care allows the family the time to relax and deal with their own issues and needs so that they are better equipped when their child returns home.
P2) Identify the current relevant legislation affecting the care of children and young people?
It has long been acknowledged that children and young people are vulnerable and are therefore at great risk of being abused and exploited. There is now an inclusive legal framework in place to protect them. This is constantly being reviewed, as the structure of society changes. ECM which stands for Every Child Matters has been changed to Every Citizen Matters.
Children Act 1989 Chapter 41
An Act to reform the law relating to children; to provide for local authority services for children in need and others; to amend the law with respect to children's homes, community homes, voluntary homes and voluntary organisations; to make provision with respect to fostering, child minding and day care for young children and adoption; and for connected purposes. (16th November 1989)
Children Act 1989, 2004 children (Scotland) Act 1995
* The children act 1989 was initially designed to ensure that all local authorities were making equal provision to support children, young people and their families.
* It includes the support of children with disabilities who, when they reach the age of 18, come under the NHS and Community Care Act 1990.
* In 1995, the children act was updated in Scotland, with the same view that 'the welfare of the child is paramount'. It updated the law of Scotland relating to looked after children and young people.
* The children act 2004 accompanies Every Child Matters, which considered all aspects of children's services, including new statutory duties for local authorities.
Every Child Matters or Every Citizen Matters reviews five outcomes for children and young people and how care is provided for them through the Children's Act.
1. Being healthy: this outcome deals with the extent to which providers supply to the development of healthy lifestyles in children. Evidence will include ways in which providers promote the following: physical, mental, emotional and sexual health; involvement in sport and exercise; healthy eating and the drinking of water; the ability to distinguish and conflict personal stress; having self-esteem; and the prevention of drug taking including smoking and alcohol.
2. Staying safe: this outcome is principally about the extent to which providers contribute to ensuring that 'children' stay safe from harm. Evidence includes complying with child protection legislation, undertaking CRB checks, protecting young people and vulnerable adults from bullying, harassment and other forms of maltreatment, discrimination, crime, anti-social behaviour, sexual exploitation, exposure to violence and other dangers.
3. Enjoying and achieving: this outcome includes attending and enjoying education and training, and the degree to which learners make progress with consideration to their learning and their personal development. Evidence to evaluate this includes arrangements to assess and monitor learners' progress, support learners with poor attendance and behaviour, and meet the needs of potentially underachieving groups.
4. Making a positive contribution: this outcome includes the expansion of self-confidence and creative behaviour in learners, together with their perceptive of rights and responsibilities, and their active participation in community life. There should also be a focus on enabling young people to develop appropriate independent behaviour and to avoid engaging in antisocial behaviour.
5. Achieving economic well-being: this outcome includes the success of the ways in which the provider prepares learners for the acquirement of the skills and knowledge needed for employment and for economically independent living. Evidence includes arrangements for developing self-confidence, enterprise and teamwork, the provision of good careers advice and training for financial proficiency, and the expediency of opportunities for work experience and work-based learning.
P3) Describe health and social care service provision for looked-after children and young people?
When children and young people have to live away from home and are cared for by our social care services we say they are 'looked after'. They may be looked after for a range of reasons, for example because a parent is ill, or because there may be concerns about them remaining living at home. There are many types of care which both children and young people are available to. These are some of them, foster care, respite care, temporary/permanent care, residential care and adoption.
Foster Care is a protective service for children and families. The children are provided a substitute family life experience in an agency certified home for a planned, temporary period of time. Parents of these children should receive support in working toward family reunification or an alternate permanent plan for their children.
Foster care is often short-term but can become long-term as circumstances change. Foster carers are checked by the local authority to ensure that they are suitable and competent to provide care in their own homes. They need to be adaptable, as they may be caring for a baby one day and an eight year old a week later. Children and young people in foster care can sometimes present difficult problems.
Adoption is a formal, legal process in which the child or young person becomes a permanent member of a family other than their natural birth family. Sometimes parents give up all responsibility for a child and offer that child or young person for adoption. Adoption can also follow the death of the child's natural parents. Sometimes local pregnancy crisis centres are there to support you as you consider adoption. They are there for you through the whole process - the decision making, the pregnancy and the adoption itself. This support can continue for as long as you want.
Residential care is for people who cannot continue living in their own home, even with support from home care services. This can be for many reasons such as respite for a family unit or as a temporary emergency situation in an abusive family situation. Residential childcare may be arranged for children and young people with behavioural difficulties so that specialised staff are available to interact with them. You can stay in residential care for a short time (known as respite care), over a longer period or permanently.