Cherie is a youth worker for a further education college as a member of the student guidance team. She also helps plan and supervise visits to the college by groups of pupils from local secondary school, usually aged between 14 to16 years old.
During one event, Cherie overhears a female pupil, Sophie, talking to a friend about wanting to go out for her 15th birthday but tells her friend that this will be impossible, as she has been missing school at least once a week because she is too scared to leave her mother, Julie alone.
Julie, Sophie says, has a history of mental health issues and has been suffering from a serious depression since she lost her job a few months ago and she hasn’t got any help for it. Sophie tells her friend that Julie is drinking alcohol and has been telling Sophie that she wants to kill herself. Sophie also says that there’s hardly food in the house as Julie has very little money and has mainly stopped food shopping. Sophie doesn’t want to tell anyone as she’s scared, she will be taken in to care.
As we have seen in the scenario, Cherie should take the responsibility to safe guard the victims who are at risk. According to (Leeds.gov.uk, 2018), the term ‘Safeguarding’ or to safeguard means to protect vulnerable adults, young people and children from neglect or abuse. It is to ensure that vulnerable people get the full support to stay healthy and well. According to the [Change Magazine, 2011], it is not fair if vulnerable people are not treated by professionals with the same respect as other patients. A vulnerable adult is someone who is in need of community care service because of his/her mental health, age, illness or other disability. People with these disabilities who may live independently or without services can get exposed to bullying and abuse.
According to (Leeds.gov.uk, 2018), abuse is when someone mistreats or bullies you or say something that may hurt or upset you. They put you in a situation that makes it hard for you to speak it out.
There are different types of abuse. These could be physical, sexual, emotional, financial abuse and etc. Neglect also happens when people fail to treat you as an equal by not thinking or caring about your feelings and dignity. For example, A person may get neglected if someone may stop providing you food, shelter and clothes.
According to scenario 1, Cherie is a youth worker, so she should have the access to get a full legal advice from a perspective legal department. She can protect both Sophie and her mom, Julie by the use of the Children’s Act 1989 or occasionally by the use of Mental Health Act 1983. This would remove the mentally ill adult who puts the child at risk, from the house, rather than removing the child.
In this case, according to [ Adult Mental Health and Child Protection, 2018] website, it is stated that a wide range of health professionals have a critical role to play in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. Where Cherie and an adult mental health services are involved, close collaboration should take place between both services. As Cherie now knows that Sophie is at a risk of suffering significant harm as a result of the poor care she gets from her mom, a referral process must be followed [section 31 of Children’s Act]. A child or young person is at risk of significant harm if the circumstances that are causing concern for the safety, welfare or well-being of the child or young person are present to a significant extent. According to [section 31 of Children’s Act,1989], a ‘Local Authority’ or an authorised person to apply to the court for and order which makes it lawful to put a child under the supervision of a local authority.
Cherie should also find out the availability of local services for adults with mental health problems who have responsibilities for children to support Sophie’s mother, Julie.All agencies including Cherie need to provide their services in ways that respond sensitively to the views of both Cherie and her mom, Julie. For example; for herself, Sophie’s mom, Julie may want support in looking after her child, good quality service to meet her child’s needs, parent support groups and freedom from fear that her child will certainly be removed from her. In addition, for her child she may want opportunities for Sophie to talk about any of her fears or opportunities for Sophie where she can meet adults she can trust and to participate in. Also, from Sophie’s point of view, she may need some one to talk to but not formal counselling, a chance to make friends and age appropriate information about the illness. At this stage any professional involved in Sophie’s case including Cherie should be encouraged to be curious and think critically about Sophie’s family.
The Adult mental health professionals and child care workers must share information in order to evaluate the risks. These includes sharing of information about Sophie’s mom past experience of psychiatric services. However, Julie has never been to a doctor which makes it a bit difficult for them to find the cause. So, the children’s workers may need more information and adult mental health workers need to see it as their responsibility to provide this information when requested. When Julie receives a mental health service in the community, it is crucial to ask her questions like who supports her, who lives in the household, any clue about her husband or partner, is her partner concerned about his child, and who looks after her child if she feels unwell etc. They should try to find out any source of support that could assist Sophie or her mother.
They should also talk to Sophie, as she will be aware of her mother’s symptoms and the way her mother behaves when unwell. Assessment needs to follow the Framework for Assessment of Children in Need as for any social assessment of a child. This includes health and physical development, emotional and behavioural development, education and cognitive development and social presentation. Parenthood and the parent-child relationship could also have a negative impact on Sophie’s life as her father is not mentioned in the scenario. If this information may not be available, other protective factors should be considered. For example; mental illness combined with misuse of drug or alcohol and previous history of violence, self-harm and suicidal attempt.
The process should then start by talking with Sophie to meet her needs when her mother is hospitalized for mental health reasons. These should be done by being open and honest with her as she will be aware of any changes especially in the absence of her mom, provide explanation which is appropriate to her age and remind her that she is not to blame. There should also be ways of maintaining contact with her mother which includes use of a phone call, letters and pictures where appropriate. Changes in behaviour pattern should be recognised and discuss with relevant professionals in children’s service as she might be worried, have fears, be confused and this may lead to disrupted sleep, loss of appetite, poor hygiene, anger and refusal to go to school. The school and teachers should also be alerted that Sophie may need extra support and attention.The guidance not only points out the importance of information sharing but strongly recommends joint working between agencies and professions to provide, as comprehensively as possible, risk assessments and combine child protection plans and adult care plans or care packages, to meet the needs of the whole family.
Adam is a manager in a day nursery school from 0-5 years. Sam is a two years old boy who started at the nursery less than 2 weeks ago and is dropped off and picked up daily by his mother, Rose. The family moved to the area very recently because of Rose’s work.Since Sam arrived at the nursery, Adam has noticed that the little boy is very quiet which he thought this was shyness due to the new environment but in his second week, Adam then saw Sam pushing and hitting another child quite hard before again and withdrawing.As Adam tries to speak with Sam one to one, he saw severe fresh bruising which do not appear to be rush of any kind on the child’s right arm and around his neck.The first question for this scenario would be the definition of a child abuse?
According to [child help, 2018] website, a child abuse is any child up to the age of 18, who has suffered from any kind of abuse by a parent or caregiver through an action, which in result causes injury, death, emotional harm, or risk of serious harm to a child. Indicators in the context of safeguarding includes; physical abuse [ outline bruises of hand prints or belts, burns bite and unusual scars], sexual abuse [urinary infections, inappropriate level of sexual knowledge and become isolated], emotional abuse [low self-esteem, delayed development and nervous behaviour], neglect [dirty skin and hair, being left unsupervised and being left out]
The signs of a child abuse might not always be obvious, and a child might not tell anyone what’s happening to them as they might be scared that the abuser will find out and the abuse might get worse. And sometimes, a child doesn’t even know that he/she is getting abused. So, the only option could be to tell whether their behaviour is or the right age. For example; According to Adam from scenario 2, Sam is only 2 years old and is always quite in school which is unusual behaviour for his age and once he engaged in a play with other children, he was witnessed pushing and hitting another child quite hard. He’s also got fresh bruises in his arm and neck which tells us that this child has witnessed domestic abuse. And any child who witnessed domestic abuse may become aggressive, have antisocial behaviour, suffer from depression, may be late to know how to speak and not do well at school due to problems in home and moving to different houses.
Living in a house where there is domestic abuse might have a serious negative impact on Sam’s behaviour and wellbeing for long term. According to [NSPCC, 2018] website, this type of abuse is considered as a ‘significant harm’ in law. His mother may underestimate the effect of abuse on her son because she’s too busy living her life as she’s the manager of a local hotel. So, she might not realise or see what’s happening to her child. If she’s also isolated from her surrounding, things can become more challenging as a manager’s job might be hectic for a mother and doesn’t allow her to be social. So, the harder it can be to cope and the greater the risk of harm to the children. The long-term effects of abuse may include; mental health problems such as depression, post traumatic stress disorder [PTSD], suicidal thoughts, difficulties in communicating, antisocial behaviour and criminal behaviour.
According to [studymoose.com, 2108] website, the Education Act 2002 creates a responsibility on education authorities to safeguard the welfare of children and young people. This affects an individual’s day to day work as he/she must be aware of how to spot the signs of abuse, who to report his/her concerns, how to maintain a safer school environment and be aware of the health and safety of the children.
The policies and procedures for safeguarding is stated that all employers, volunteers and students should be properly looked over [ eligible and suitable]. It should also be made sure that they don’t have any criminal conviction and are suitable to work with children and young people for child protection.
Risk assessments are also an important factor on safeguarding children and in any employee’s day to day work, before starting to carry out any risk assessments, he/she first make sure all things involved in the assessment is safe. For example, her/his plan of an activity is an art and craft, he/she need to keep in mind the potential danger of sharp items like scissors and change his/her plan accordingly to suit each child.
The public also safeguards children and young people and protect them from abuse. The government developed a national standard for the public practice to make sure that children are able to speak out and have their views heard. So, this may affect an employee’s day to day life as it he/she might need to know if any child requires it and if any of them request that, the employee should act as an advocate.
Following these settings, policies and procedures, if any child or young person is to express any concerns, an employee [Adam] on his day to day work should take the child [Sam] or young person seriously, listen to them and have empathy reassure the children that you’ll help in any way you can. And he/she also seek support and advice from the child protection officer.
When it comes to safeguarding, children are best protected when professionals know what is required of them and how they work together. This means everyone who works with the children has the reasonability to keep them safe which includes identifying concerns, sharing information and take prompt actions. In order to carry out this effectively, professionals need to work in partnership with each other. For example, according to scenario 2, Adam should work in partnership with Sam’s mom, Rosie and other child protection office to ensure the health and wellbeing of Sam at his early age, before the effects of abuse last into adulthood.