Outline current policies and legislation relating to children and how these affect your practice.
Outline current policies and legislation relating to children and how these affect your practice. 1989 The Children Act States that the Local Authority has ‘a duty to investigate when there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is su? ering, or is likely to su? er, signi? cant harm’, section 47 The Welfare of the child is paramount regarding his/her upbringing. Parental rights duties and obligations are outlined. Provisions are made regarding fostering, adoption, child minding and day care. When making welfare decisions, the courts are obligated to take into consideration the Child’s wishes and feelings.
Law amendments are made, regarding Community, Voluntary and Children’s homes and voluntary organisations. Every TA should know who the safeguarding officer/s are in the school and should know the appropriate ways to communicate with them. There should be knowledge of safeguarding policies and procedures or at least access to copies of the above.
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If there is reasonable cause to suspect an issue with a child at school, it is the duty of a Teaching Assistant to report it to the appropriate safeguarding officer. 1999 Protection of Children Act Duty of Secretary of State to record names of people unsuitable for childcare employment.
All organisations must refer to PoCA list when checking prospective employees. Made it an offence to employ anyone on the PoCA list, even if already employed. A Teaching assistant has a duty to disclose any information regarding any other employees or prospective employees to superiors. 2003 Hidden Harm Focused on children of parents or guardians with drug/alcohol addictions that cause serious negative consequences for themselves and their families. Teaching Assistants should be familiar or at least have access to clear guidance on drug related instances.
TA’s have a responsibility to make sure that they, themselves, are adequately trained in recognising signs and possible indications of drug related neglect and general safeguarding. It is the role of the TA to assist in providing a positive school experience. This, in turn, will equip the child with the resilience to cope with adverse life circumstances. 2003 Every Child Matters Green Paper – published with the report into the death of Victoria Climbe. Focus on supporting families and carers. Ensures that interventions take place before crisis point and also that children do not fall through the net.
Identifies underlying problems associated with the Victoria Climbe report. Ensures people working with children are valued and supported. “Every Child Matters acknowledges that children and young people cannot learn effectively if they do not feel safe, healthy or happy, and that learning and well-being go hand in hand. ” 2007 According to the ECM standards, every member of support staff should be trained and supported, utilized and encouraged to be successful in their employment. Therefore, TA’s should have an efficient induction, continuous professional development, regular appraisals and be able to seek on-going support.
TA’s have a tendency to work closely with children in a group or 1:1 capacity. This is likely to provide a closer working relationship with the children, allowing observations of behaviour in class and a greater knowledge of background, culture and family life. It is also the TA’s responsibility to know the referral process according to the School’s Safeguarding Policy, if there is a suspicion of a safeguarding issue. 2004 The Children Act Nominated Children’s Commissioner. Orders a provision of services regarding private fostering, Child minding/day care. Updated punishment legislation:
Offence to hit a Child if it causes mental harm or leaves a mark on the skin. Retracts section in 1989 Children Act regarding reasonable chastisement. Specific provision for disabled children. Highlights the need for support staff to train regarding the identification of possible signs of abuse. It is also necessary to have the ability to know when a given account of how a physical injury was sustained does not tally with the actual injury. There is also a role for support staff to assist in teaching pupils to protect themselves, to a certain degree, against abuse or bullying.
Working Together to Safeguard Children 2006 Agencies and organisations should work together, sharing information in order to provide effective services to children, adults and their Carers. The above agencies and organisations have a duty of care and responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. TA’s should be aware of potential indications of abuse. (Stated under ‘Protection’) Be vigilant regarding the risks that abusers or potential abusers cause to children. Share any information that may be useful in assessments made regarding the child’s needs and circumstances.
If asked, it is useful for the TA to regularly take part in reviews and the making of specific plans. If it is possible to work with the child’s parents, there is a need for good communication skills, using unbiased language and neutrality. Discuss the steps you would take if you had concerns for the safety and wellbeing of a child. When dealing with suspected physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect it is important for every staff member, including support staff, to be aware of how to manage the initial contact with the child, if there is any, and then the appropriate reporting procedure.
All schools will have a Safeguarding Policy that should be made easily available for every member of staff. According to the policy used for this exercise, there are five easy steps to remember. Receive If a child needs to talk it is necessary for he/she to have my immediate attention. If this opportunity is not taken the child may change their mind. I would need to listen intently and quietly, with comfort and sympathy, allowing silences where necessary. It is important that I show no denial, shock or disbelief and that the child feels as little responsibility as possible.
Unfortunately, children that experience abuse often grow up feeling responsible and blaming themselves for the abuse (2009) More importantly, I would need to take this issue very seriously, even if I have no proof of validity. Reassure It is vital that I should remain calm and composed and that I remain neutral, making no judgements but showing some empathy. It is crucial that I do not make any promises of secrecy to the child, but reassurance that only those that need to know will be told needs to be given. It is important that the child knows that they have made the right decision in telling you.
React It is important for me to refrain from overreaction. I am trying to establish whether this is a matter that needs to be referred or not. Overreaction may cause the child distress. Essentially, I should avoid asking leading questions, and keep them open. Also, I should avoid asking too many questions as this would be construed as interrogation, and it is not my place to conduct an interrogation. I am required to remain neutral and refrain from criticising the possible abuser as the child undoubtedly holds affection for them. At this point I must try and explain what I am going to do next. Record If feasible, I would need to write down and record the time, date and a brief account of the discussion, making sure that it is not my interpretation but an accurate account of what the child expressed to me. Also, it is necessary to document any noticeable non-verbal behaviour. The Safeguarding policy held by the school will direct me to official forms that need to be filled in, so, at this stage, I would fill in a report form. Report Inform the designated teacher/safeguarding officer as soon as possible.
There may not have been an initial contact with the child and it may be that there is more of a suspicion of abuse or neglect. In this case, there would be a need for tactful, unobtrusive questions. The TA has to recognise if a child does not want to talk then the matter must not be pursued. Alternatively, it may be useful to discuss the situation with the designated teacher/safeguarding officer before making an official referral. Evaluate the effects of domestic abuse on children. What impact could this have on children within the school setting?
According to domesticviolence. org, domestic violence or abuse is defined as the use of behaviours by one person in a relationship with the sole purpose of controlling the other. Partners do not have to be married for domestic abuse to occur. Department of Health in 2002, states that; “At least 750,000 children a year witness domestic violence. Nearly three quarters of children on the ‘at risk’ register live in households where domestic violence occurs” Cited by Women’s Aid, 2014. DoH also believes that to witness domestic abuse is emotional abuse in itself.
This may possibly be through the witness of a physical injury to an adult or sexual abuse of an adult or even being caught in the middle of a violent dispute between two adults themselves. Frank, Putnam and Teicher, 1994, found that chronically high levels of adrenalin can kill neurons in the brain areas crucial for thinking and memory. In the instance of a child witnessing domestic abuse, the levels of adrenalin would be high enough to arrest the growth of the left hemisphere of the brain and thereby hampering the development of language and logic.
There would also be an increase in the body’s antibodies which would significantly weaken the immune system. Children may respond to the witnessing of domestic abuse very differently. These are some of the effects described in a briefing by the Royal College of Psychiatrists (2004): They may become anxious or depressed, causing segregation from friends. They may have difficulty sleeping, effecting their focus and ability to concentrate. They have nightmares or flashbacks, leading to a lack of quality sleep.
They can be easily startled, triggering the ‘fight or flight’ reaction which in turn produces adrenalin and increasing anxiety. They may complain of physical symptoms such as tummy aches, associated with anxiety. They may start to wet their bed, instigating low self-esteem and a domino effect to a lot of other effects. They may have temper tantrums, possibly caused by confusion and the inability to understand the situation. They may behave as though they are much younger than they are. They may become aggressive or they may internalise their distress and withdraw from other people.
Jaffe, Wilson and Wolfe (1986) suggest that children’s exposure to adult domestic violence may generate attitudes justifying their own use of violence. Cited in Edleson, 1997. They may have a lowered sense of self-worth, causing a withdrawal and failure to thrive in the classroom. They may have an eating disorder, or could well reduce their eating to a very low level. If the domestic abuse is not discovered, or investigated, then a child witnessing the act would inevitably display one or more of the above regularly.
They would be at a higher risk of irreversible damage to cognitive, behavioural and social areas of their lives and there would be a definite failure to thrive. Bibliography The Children Act 1989 The Every Child Matters Standards 2007 Pandora’s Project 2009 Putnam, Frank and Teicher, 1994, Presented at the American Psychiatric Association Meeting. Edleson, J. L. (1997, April). Problems Associated with Childrenis Witnessing of Domestic Violence. Harrisburg, PA: VAWnet, a project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence/Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Retrieved 27th February 2014, from: http://www. vawnet. org