The first comprehensive legislation relating to safeguarding in England and Wales was the Children Act 1989. The main goal of this act were to ensure that the welfare of the child comes first and it is the responsibility of parents and adults working with children to ensure the safety of the child. Its additional goals were to, highlight the responsibility of the parents, structure family proceedings in court, encourage communication and working together between parents and statutory authorities, and to achieve a balance in protecting children, and giving parents the rights to challenge the intervention of the state. It still remains a vital piece of main legislation because of its focus on safeguarding children and laying out the responsibilities of local authorities.
The 2004 Children Act came about because of the Every Child Matters guidelines that were complied due to the Laming Report. It states that there should be a central database containing the records of different services about all children and whether they are known to the agencies, closer working relationships between services such as health professionals and welfare services, an independent children’s commissioner (for England) to protect the rights of children and young people, a children and families board chaired by a senior government minister and a framework, set by Ofsted, to monitor children’s services. There is also a “Working together to Safeguard Children” document that sets out how organisations and individuals should work together and local authorities set up LSCBs , Local Safeguarding Children Boards, to safeguard children locally.
The CAF or Common Assessment Framework, is used in England as a way of finding out the additional needs of children across children’s services and how these needs can be met. It strives to identify a child’s additional needs as early as possible and discover a method of support, which is appropriate to the child. It should be used when practitioners feel that a child will not progress towards the five items in the Every Child matters without intervention. It should not be used when the child is believed to have been harmed or is at risk. The Department of Education also provides guidance and supporting documents for schools and local authorities.
In 1990, the UK signed a legally binding act of The United Nations Convention on the rights of the Child, which means that the UK is required to implement legislation to support all 54 of the articles. They must also report on the process that the UK has made since it has been implemented and continue to work together with the rest of the EU regarding this. The UNCRC is an internationally binding human rights treaty, which sets out the rights of every child under the age of 18 in the EU. It states that every child must be treated equally and entitles to the full range of human rights, which include, civil, social and political. The articles, which clarify this, include, the right to services such as health care and education, the right to grow up in a happy, loving and understanding environment and the right to special protection methods and assistance.