Safeguarding children and young people is a high priority because everyone has the right to be protected from harm and/or abuse. Abuse can include physical, sexual, emotional or neglect. As a member of staff or a person working with children and young people, we have the responsibility to safeguard them. It was originally known as child protection but today we use the word safeguard. Safeguarding framework was put in place to provide children and young people with protection and it has a wider range than child protection, which include special requirements regarding vetting and recruitments procedures, for example, DBS Check. Child protection refers to the procedures that are undertaken to protect any children that are being abused or neglected. Furthermore, it involves protecting children or young people that are at risk of maltreatment and helps prevent impairment of a child’s health and development by making sure a child or young person is raised in a positive and safe environment. If a parent or carer fail to protect and care for their child, there is a high risk that the child could end up being placed into an adequate setting or environment such as a foster home.
A child centred approach is very important as it makes sure the child is put first along with their needs and wants. It allows children to connect and communicate with people without being interrupted and without people interfering. Any adult that comes into contact or works with a child has a duty of care to ensure they are safe, and the best interests of the child are prioritized. It is beneficial for the child to have a child centred approach as it allows the child to learn the skills they need to learn. However, because every child will have different needs and wants, by using the right approach for a specific child, it gives a greater chance of the child’s self-esteem and learning being enhanced which will help them later in life. The greatest thing about a child centred approach is that it benefits all children as they respond differently to different approaches because no two children are ever the same. It is very important that children are aware of their rights and that they understand no one has the right to do anything that they are uncomfortable with. Furthermore, they should be taught and encouraged not to put up with any behaviour from adults or other children that make them feel worthless or threatened.
The Green Paper Every Child Matters (ECM) (Chief Secretary to the Treasury, 2003) built on this thinking and analysis, identifying the need for agencies to cooperate and work together in order to improve children’s well-being. It identified five outcomes that were seen to be most important to children and young people:
enjoy and achieve
make a positive contribution
achieve economic well-being.