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2.4 Underlying Values and Principles

Contents

  1. Safeguarding and Promoting Children's Welfare
  2. Underlying Values
  3. Underlying Principles
  4. Working in Partnership with Children and Families


1. Safeguarding and Promoting Children's Welfare

Throughout this Manual, safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as:

  • Protecting children from maltreatment;
  • Preventing impairment of children’s health or development;
  • Ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and

Undertaking that role so as to enable those children to have optimum life chances and to enter adulthood successfully.


2. Underlying Values

Protecting children from maltreatment is important in preventing the impairment of health or development. Protecting children from maltreatment and preventing impairment of children’s health or development are necessary, but not sufficient to ensure that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care. These aspects of safeguarding and promoting welfare are cumulative and all contribute to the five outcomes that are key to children and young people’s wellbeing, namely:

  • Stay safe;
  • Be healthy;
  • Enjoy and achieve;
  • Make a positive contribution;
  • Achieve economic wellbeing.


3. Underlying Principles

Fundamental to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of each child is having a child centred approach, which includes seeing the child and keeping the child in focus throughout assessments, while working with the child and family and when reviewing whether the child is safe and his or her needs are being met. Undertaking direct work with the child is key, including:

  • Seeing the child alone when appropriate;
  • Ascertaining the child’s wishes and feelings; and
  • Understanding the meaning of their daily life experiences to them.

Individuals should always be enabled to participate fully in the process. Where a child or parent is disabled it may be necessary to provide help with communication to enable the child or parent to express themselves to the best of his or her ability. Where a child or parent speaks a language other than that spoken by the interviewer, an interpreter should be provided. If the child is unable to take part in an interview because of age or understanding, alternative means of understanding the child’s wishes or feelings should be used, including observation where children are very young or where they have communication impairments.

Throughout the Child Protection process, the child should be kept safe.

Children have varying needs which change over time. Competent professional judgment is required if children are to achieve their full potential. Competent professional judgment is based on sound assessment of a child’s needs, the parents’ capacity to respond to those needs and the wider family circumstances.

All work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children will be planned and:

  • Be child centred;
  • Be rooted in child development;
  • Focus on outcomes for children;
  • Holistic in approach;
  • Ensure equality of opportunity;
  • Involve children and families;
  • Build on strengths as well as identifying difficulties;
  • Integrated in approach;
  • Be a continuing process not an event;
  • Provide and review services;
  • Be informed by evidence.

It is the responsibility of each agency to ensure that staff training and development incorporates the above principles.

At all stages of referral and assessment consideration must be given to issues of diversity so that the impact of cultural expectations and obligations are understood.


4. Working in Partnership with Children and Families

Work in partnership with families must be based on the following principles:

  • Treat all family members with dignity and respect and offer a caring and courteous service;
  • Enable all family members to participate in the assessment process, regardless of race, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation or ability;
  • Ensure family members know the child’s safety and welfare has priority;
  • Minimise infringement of privacy consistent with protecting the child;
  • Be clear about powers and purpose of any intervention;
  • Be aware of the impact on the family of professional actions;
  • Respect confidentiality and pass on information and/or observations about the family only with permission or to protect the child;
  • Listen to and try to understand the concerns, wishes and feelings of the child and family before formulating explanations and plans;
  • Learn about the child’s religious, cultural, community and familial context;
  • Consider strengths, potential and limitations of family members;
  • Ensure all family members know their responsibilities and rights with respect to receipt or refusal of services and its consequences;
  • Use simple jargon-free language appropriate to age and culture of each individual;
  • Be open and honest about concerns and professionals’ responsibilities, plans and limitations;
  • Allow individuals time to absorb professional concerns and processes;
  • Distinguish between personal feelings, values, prejudices and beliefs, and professional roles and responsibilities and seek and use supervision to check achievement of this;
  • Always acknowledge errors, failures or oversights and the distress caused to families;
  • Give explicit consideration to the potential conflict between family members and the possible need for children or adults to speak without other family members present;
  • Children and young people should be consulted and kept informed about what is to happen to them;
  • Children’s welfare must be safeguarded by prompt, positive and pro-active attention.

End