Lord Laming has varied interests from child protection, care for the elderly and elements of the criminal justice system. Laming was appointed to work on the Harold Shipman case, but melancholy had to step down. Lord Lamings work has also involved elements of the prison service as he was once a social worker and probation officer from Newcastle. One of his most famous cases was to investigate the death of Victoria Climbie from North London who passed away after years of abuse from her abusive guardians. Laming reported that there were fatal errors made within the system and took this case to the heart, which actually distressed him personally. In his report, he argued that there was a lack of accountability, poor co-ordination and low staff morale which all contributed to her death.
Another case that Lord Laming was involved was the ‘Baby P’ tragedy, which took place over a long period of time by his parents. Baby P was only 17 months old at the time; he was on the child protection register and had already been seen about sixty times. After these horrific cases, Lord Laming was asked to look at the child protection system and to see what could be done to never have this kind of events happening again.
Lord Laming’s report in response to the case of ‘Baby P’ was published on 12th March 2009 as a government wake up to into child protection. In total, there were 58 recommendations, which were all accepted by the government. Theses varied and, in this writing, the key recommendations will be outlined below (Only 25).
- There will be a National Safeguarding Delivery Unit looking at culture changes across frontline services, which would assist them to protect more children. They will also work closely with other organisations where they can all share evidence regarding effective practise (this would include any potential serious case studies).
- There will be targets (like school targets) but for child protection.
- The Primary Care Trust will have safeguarding measures for performance measures. Review meetings will take place on a regular basis for agencies such as the police, PCT executives and commanders.
- Ofsted should focus on how well schools are doing in terms of their child protection responsibilities
- There should be guaranteed guidelines on supervision times for social workers given out by the ‘Social work task force’.
- In relation with social workers, integrated children’s systems need to be improved.
- Services such as; police, probation, drug and adult mental health services must understand the referral process.
- There will be a conversion qualification required to work with children as well as an English test. Where the person is a postgraduate, they will have fully-funded practice in a real environment.
- Each and every trust will need multi-language training and also understand local procedures for referrals.
- The police should be well resourced and also have specific training in child protection.
- General Practitioners (GP’s) should have the relevant training to comply with child protection issues.
- Each department; Children, Schools and families needs to make sure that the Serious Case Review panel will require all relevant documents and employees they need to deal with any child protection issues. These staffs should also be independent.
- Ofsted will be required to share full details of any serious case reports with HMI Constabulary, the Care commission and HMI Probation.
- Authors and Chairs are required to finish training given by the Department for Children, Families and Schools. The Government will also have to make sure these people are trained properly.
- At six monthly intervals, Ofsted must produce reports as a summary of the Serious Case Reviews.
- The Local Safeguarding Children Board and Children’s Trust cannot be chaired by the same individual.
- Children’s services must be resourced by The Department for Children.
- There should be a yearly report published reviewing the safeguarding of child protection based on how effective the local safeguarding is.
- The staffing budgets for the police, health services and children’s services are protected.
- The impact of court fees needs to be reviewed independently by the Ministry of Justice.
- The Department of Health, Children, Schools and Families need to deliver guidance and training to A&E staff in order to spot any potential child protection issues.
- Elements of high quality supervision will be set out by the Department of Schools, Children and Families.
- The General Social Care Council should work on improving Degrees linked to social care. They should also reviews it own care of practice code related to social workers and employees. This ‘code’ should be the same for all staff.
- The Government will provide training in child protection to senior manager and senior leaders.
- The Department for Children, Families and Schools need to think about the feasibility of a more productive single integrated Children’s system within six months.
After the case of Victoria Climbie, who died with 128 different injuries Lord Laming was instructed to start an inquiry into her death and to look at any potential improvements to the system. The outcome of this was the publishing of a ‘green paper’ called ‘Every Child Matters’ which was agreed in the Children’s Act 2004. This paper was in favour of child protection plans rather than a register and also created an Integrated Computer System (ICS) to make sure information was collected and help effectively. Some of the proposed changes included the structure of the system, for example; each council would now be accountable for the safety of their children’s area. Another change was to implement a common framework so that police, education and practitioners could support families better. There was also local safeguarding systems arranged which aimed to help multi-agencies child protection training and which looked into child deaths or incidents which could have been preventable.
Functions of Children Trust and Description of Essential Features and Partnership Agreements
An example of a Children’s Trust is ‘The Children’s Trust Tadworth’ which is a National Charity aimed to meet the needs of children and young people who suffer from complex neuro-disabilities. The trust offers services such as rehabilitation, medical care, nursing care, therapy and special educational needs support. Each trust has their own, and essential features which include:
1: They offer flexible, child focused support and care including for the family
2: They generally work together with the NHS and other local authorities
3: They have inter-linked professional teams including; psychologists, teachers and teaching assistants
4: The trust offers support for young people and children who suffer from brain related injuries
5: Support and care for children with complex medical requirements such as epilepsy or dysphasia
In terms of recent legislation the ‘Children’s and Young People’s Plan: Building Brighter Futures gives the Children’s trust high goals to help make improvements for all children and young people (this puts all local authorities in the driving seat). The ‘Green Paper’ was initially brought about due to several crucial crises in social work staffing. This enabled the Government to focus on children more and especially with the case of ‘Victoria Climbie’. The paper identified four main areas which required action, for example; early intervention, improving accountability, improving parental/carer and implementing a childcare workforce strategy.
This project also introduced multi- agency teams working with schools and there will be a named key worker who gives each child a unique ID. In terms of the local and national level, one area of focus was to help improve accountability for children’s services along with helping to coordinate. This will help to bring all social services, education and careers advice services together.
Definition of ‘Children Need’ in a Social Context
The history of children in need dates back prior to the 19th century where there was no actual policy in Government in terms of rights or welfare. During the industrial revolution, children were living in unpleasant living conditions and were impacted by illness and disease. In 1889 parliament passed the prevention of cruelty to children, Act to help protect children. In terms of ‘Children in Need’ the legal definition states that the child is; unlikely to achieve, maintain a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision for him/her self of services by a local authority’. In terms of Children in Need, in social work context, this would mean that the child maybe suffering some forms of abuse such as neglect or physical abuse (These children can then be monitored or intervened if required).
There are also several categories for Children in Need in a social work context, which include; significant harm, disabled children, parental illness, dysfunctional family, family suffering acute stress, socially unacceptable behaviour, low income and absent parenting (www.direct.gov.co.uk)
A List of Different Types of Child Abuse and Neglect and their Brief Descriptions
In terms of ‘child abuse’ this can be broken down into several areas; Physical abuse, Emotional abuse, Sexual abuse and neglect.
Physicalabuse can involve anything from hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, drowning, scalding, suffocating or any other way of causing psychical harm. If a parent, or carer fabricates or causes an illness then this can also account for psychical abuse. Emotional abuse constitutes as the emotional ill treatment of a child which could include areas such as telling the child they are worthless, unloved or inadequate. Another area includes over protection or stopping the child participating in normal social activities. If a child is scared or put in danger e.g. Parents are fighting or taking drugs then this could account for abuse.
Sexual abuse primarily involves making the child take part in sexual activities such as prostitution (even if they are unaware what is happening). This also includes non-penetrative acts such as touching and penetration of the mouth, anus or vagina with a penis.
Another area of sexual abuse involves making the child watch abusive videos or making them take part in sexual, inappropriate ways including; use of photos, cartoons, pictures, internet or CD’s. Children under sixteen cannot lawfully consent to sexual intercourse, or in reality maybe involved in sexual agreed contact. If the children are under thirteen, then they are considered incapable of giving consent.
Finally, neglect means that basic needs (both psychological and physical) are not being met and which could lead to serious consequences. Neglect can even occur during pregnancy e.g. Taking drugs by the mother. Once born, the child could be neglected by failure to provide adequate food, shelter or clothing and to be unprotected from dangers – both physical and emotional. The parents should also provide adequate care-taking for their child such as doctors, educational needs and intellectual needs.
Steps Involved in the Initial Assessment
The steps outlined in the initial assessment are to look at putting abused children on a child protection register. There are child protection conferences which are based on inter-agency management and the main areas of this initial assessment include; work out the actual risk of the child suffering future potential harm, look at and analyse information regarding the health of the child, their development and the capability of the parents to protect and develop the child’s personal development. The initial assessment also covered areas such as whether there should be a need for registration and when this is done to then assign a care manager.
Other steps involved in this initial assessment are to agree a child protection plan and to outline the specific required outcomes. After all the above has been raised regarding a child, social services are able to carry out their investigations. Once these steps have been followed a full investigation is taken out under section 47 of the Children’s Act.
Norfolk Protocol Guidelines and Activities According to the Protocol
The Norfolk Protocol was designed for children in need who have parents that are suffering mental health issues or drug related challenges. The aim of this protocol (4) is to help in areas such as risk assessment, service delivery and assessment of need.
Children who are living away from Home and go Missing
For example, if a child goes missing there will be a full risk assessment carried out as every child is potentially vulnerable. The Protocol therefore combines a mixture of Childrens services and using the police policy to find them. The police actually play a key role in finding missing people such as CENTREX (Guidance on The Management Recording and Investigation of Missing Persons 2005). This also means that the police have filled in a ‘Child at Risk’ form (C39d).
Planning before the Event
One area of the Protocol 4 is when children are living away from home and then go missing. According to CENTREX these make up the highest amount of missing children cases. These children may be labelled ‘unauthorised absence’ and prior to placing a child the social worker has to think about the likelihood of this happening to them and a risk assessment must be filled. In the worst case, the guardian must notify the ‘key worker’, and if need be the following has to be followed; notify the police, inform the allocated worker, the family placement team and the legal services.
Throughout any investigation regarding the child a full record must be kept of any actions or messages taken. This is usually taken down into a log book and then duplicated into the child files. If the absence is from a foster home then one of the carers must fill in a CH (f) 27 forms to record the event. Any information is then recorded electronically for safety reasons.
Planning for the Return
For any child planning has to take place for their return, which is usually teamed by a senior duty manager or a social worker. The plan typically includes; will they return home, how will they get there and would the police want to interview them.
If a child goes missing from a residential home then the parents or social workers must be informed as soon as possible. The duty manager takes charge to avoid any misunderstandings or rumours flying around regarding the child. Other agency such as the Childs school also needs to be informed, and any new or crucial information needs to be passed onto the police as soon as possible. In certain circumstances, there may be the need for media publicity, and I this case the police must be dealt with along with the Children’s services. Interestingly, the police can g ahead with an inquiry without further permission if they perceive it to in the child’s best interest (Human Rights Act 1998).
Once the child’s has returned home safely there needs (it’s offered) to be a medical examination to check everything is ok. As soon as the child returns the relevant agencies, who are involved with their finding the need to be told straight away and from there, they will decide if a meeting is required. Ideally the child would be advised to speak to someone about their absence, and this can be an independent person if requested. This interview should be recorded for future use and to help develop a care plan for the child.
Children who persistently go missing
To qualify as a persistent missing the child, the child must go missing three time in a six week period. One challenge with these cases is to determine if the child has gone missing or just taken unauthorised absence. Any authority putting a child into Norfolk must notify the Norfolk Children’s Services as soon as possible and any information that may help to safeguard the child must be passed on too.
Children who’s Parents have a Mental Illness
The guidelines of this include children who parents have a mental illness or who misuse substances. Firstly, for example; parenting capacity – covers areas such as who is living within the family, how the parent’s problem impacts on the child, is the parent facing any challenges such as drug or alcohol problems. Other activities include looking at what support systems the family using and how the parent manages their child’s behaviour. Secondly, in terms of social, family and environmental factors look at the structure and support systems involved along with any relevant family history which would be beneficial to know.
Thirdly, the developmental issues or observational issues cover areas such as who is looking after the children on a day to day basis and if the social worker has seen the child. A question regarding the Childs basic needs being met need to be asked as well as who are the key people in the child’s life. In terms of parent using drugs, the guidelines and activities include looking at the arrangement plans when the adult is taking part in any substance use activities. Also, the activities regarding substances need to check with any mental health issues to see how this effect the adult concerned. Finally, according to the protocol they need to see if the parent is actually pregnant or not.
When looking at the accommodation, care needs to be taken to see if this is adequate to meet the child’s needs. This also includes if the bills are being paid or whether drug use has led to a decline in self care. Other concerns may include alcohol and checking if the parents drive when intoxicated or take part in other high risk behaviours. Next, the provision of basic needs such as; checking the child is going to school, do they have relations with their friends, and are their emotional requirements being met. Another activity according to the protocol is whether the parent takes part in substance activities when the child is around. Potential risk include checking if the house is being used for dealing drugs and also if the parents money is coming in from legitimate sources.
Potential Health Risks
This, in turn, leads onto potential health risks such as whether or not children are aware of any drugs and where they are kept. The parents may not be aware of the health risks involved when injecting drugs in front of their children. Therefore, it is useful for parents to have a direct contact to their GP or drug specialist. Other potential activities include looking at family social networks and support systems such as; do the parents and children hang around with drug users/non-drug users. Are the families relatives aware of any drug related problems and if so, are they supporting the family. This could be an issue if the family are cut off and isolated from everyone. Finally, the parent’s perception needs to be addressed because they may not see anything wrong with their behaviour or to the children. The carer may have a different perception of the situation and the child could be scared of the drug use. This can be a concern because the parent may put their own needs before the child’s needs.
Children missing from Care Home
Finally, when looking at the protocol 4 ‘Children Missing from Care and Home’ some of the actions taken include following the child protection rules, informing the police and also telling social services. This would then involve them all taking a risk assessment and followed up with a full and thorough investigation.
TAQ6) Adoption and Fostering
The term ‘foster care’ means to temporary look after a child whereas the term ‘adoption’ means to permanently take care of a child (where they can’t be brought up by their won parents) which can’t be reversed – only in major situations. Foster care can also include ‘host families’ where these people will take care of your children on a temporary basis. In terms of the Adoption Act 2000 married and unmarried mothers are actually automatically responsible, yet if the fathers register the birth they gain automatic responsibility. This would only cease to be the case in terms of an adoption order.
Foster care as a whole is provided by local authority care providers which have to be screened and coached by the local authority. This type of care seems to be mainly short-term, but it can sometimes be long-term depending on the situation. There are several factors, which foster parents have to consider such as; day to day caring, after care for the parents once they return, giving parents access to the child and working alongside social workers. Foster care may also include emergency, short-term, short-breaks, remand fostering, long-term, permanent, family and friend and finally private fostering.
On the other hand, adoption is a legally binding transfer from birth and the birth parent gives away their right of the child. This was initially introduced in 1962 with the Adoption of Children’s Act which was replaced in 2002 in conjunction with the Human rights Act. In modern society it has become an accepted practice and is nor hidden away – less babies now up for adoption. Adoption may also take place later on in life and approximately 2000 children are adopted each year. This could be due to relationship problems, traumatic pasts or mental health problems.
Some children, on the other hand, may be ‘hard to place’ (known as SEN) and may require ‘same race placements’. The definition varies and may include black, multi-racial, different ages, sibling groups or children over the age of eight years old along with mentally or physically disadvantaged children.
Identification and Evaluation of Different Types of Provisions
1: Foster Care
Foster care is one type of provision and an example of this is from Essex County Coucil. They offer many different benefits and run a scheme on three levels; standard, intermediate and advanced. The amounts payable range from £28.00 to £375.00 from a carer on an advanced scheme. The carers are also offered full training and career progression along with the support of a social worker and out of hour’s advice (7 days per week). There are regular networking groups and advice for all carers, and this allow carers to talk to each other and share stories.
The biggest benefit of all is that they have the chance to make a positive impact on a child’s life. In foster care, the child remains the focal point in the process of decision making. This ensures that the child receives the best care possible according to their needs. Promoting foster care requires that the care foster program to be individualized to each child other than generalization of child’s care. Another goal targeted in foster care is ensuring that the child receives high quality fostering placements, embodying best value. This is enhance through ensuring that the child benefit from the local placements which enable the family to visit their kids for support. In this manner, the kid can reflect their origin and culture; thereby, maintain their values and norms. Among the services that children in foster care benefit from include educational and therapeutic services among others (Biehal, 2007).
Foster care facilitates educational support to the children. This is organized through partnership with the neighbouring local school. The background of the kids demands proper counselling and support to these children to accept formal education. This is achieved through the foster care institution offering tutors to the local schools. Thus, ensuring that the children are at close monitoring to determine their needs and act on them with immediate attention. In most cases, the children in the foster care institutions have disrupted background. Therefore, their psychological, emotional social and health in general calls for intervention. In collaboration with the authority, accredited specialist are involved in offering intervention to children diagnosed with therapeutic need of any type. Though this may not be available in all foster institutions, some will offer guidance on how the children may get the care from available experts (FosterCare UK, 2012).
In conclusion, foster care is offered local authorities through specialist in social work. There are agencies referred to as independent fostering agencies who are involved in selling foster placement to the local authorities. 16% of foster care is offered by relatives and friends in UK. (Biehal, 2007).