Case study of Tamarah and Tabitha
1) Tamarah and Tabitha are two sisters who have caught the attention of local authorities as their teachers have noticed a disturbance in the girl’s home life. It is important to understand that Tabitha and Tamarah are both under the legal age of 18 and therefore are classed as children. In the United Kingdom, the common law progresses a responsibility and duty of care to parents or guardians. (Anon, 2018)Legislations and statutory policies like the United Nation Conventions activate children with the correct stability ensuring they have the full ability to explore life. They supply children the rights to education, healthcare, and a good home environment. (Unicef UK, 2018) In this case, the parents have failed to provide an adequate level of protection and therefore further action is needed to be considered.
The development of the Children’s Act 1989 stemmed from severe cases of child protection problems. This act was the main legislation used in the child protection system. It was introduced supporting the UNCRC. There are many articles within the act in favour of children and their welfare like the safety article. Here Tabitha and Tamarah are not safe in their own homes as there has been a series of domestic violence. It weakens the concept of parental responsibility. (Childsupportlaws.co.uk, 2018)The Children Act 2004 requires the local authorities to collaborate with different agencies such as the NHS, schools and mental health services allowing the five outcomes to be achieved. The strategic ideology encompasses services involving the facility to provide guidance on parts of practice like information sharing. In this instance, the teachers have successfully noticed the worrying signs of not having breakfast and the level of attendance at school.
Working together to safeguard children is the general guidance which applies to everyone working with families in the United Kingdom. It explains the ways in which different agencies should work together meeting the statutory requirements of both The Children Act 2004 and 1989. The scheme explains how the child protection system operates and the responsibilities professionals require. Working together also includes a broader principle for safeguarding and maintaining the welfare of children with further needs. Due to this, one of the steps that LA could consider is placing the girls in a temporary care. This is because it will allow the safety of the children whilst further investigations are observed in the family home before a final court decision. The Children and Families Act 2014 sets out to purposefully intervene with families in times of needs and distress. The national guidance sets our five strategic outcomes that are essential in the wellbeing of children. These are: safety, health, positive contributions, economic wellbeing and enjoyment and achievements.
(Barker and Hodes, 2007)
Firstly, it is important to recognise the prominent signs that may be causing a distraction in the girls lives. The fact both parents are dependent users of drugs and alcohol suggest that there should already be a history of follow-ups from the children social services. Parents suffering from drug and alcohol misuse is hard work. It adds a huge strain on relationships and effects the child’s feelings and relationships with further aspects in their life. This can explain why Tabitha is operating at a different rate to her peers at school. Mum also suffers in this equation as the misuse often makes it difficult for parents to deal with family life. (NSPCC, 2018) This is explained further as she is relying on food banks for food and is struggling to manage the family life at home. This all falls into the category of neglect. Neglect is when an individual fails to cater the basic needs of a child, this can vary from emotional or educational needs or failure to intervene when a child could be at risk or potential risk. (Stone, 1998)
Based on the evidence supplied it is necessary that an immediate section 17 assessment is completed under Children Act 1989. LA have the legal right to knock on the family home and seek concerns of contact. After this assessment is undertaken there should be a preparation for a child protection conference. It is clear from the information gathered that both parents are compromising their ability to safeguard the children appropriately and prioritise their needs. It concludes that the children may require additional aid from specialists to reach or continue a sensible standard of developmental care. If so, a further section 47 assessment from The Children’s Act 1989 is completed. Persistent and noticeable inquiries of the girl’s welfare being in danger or potential risk will result in a direct child protection plan which aims immediate action within 15 days of notice.
(Surviving Safeguarding, 2018) (Nscb.org.uk, 2018)
Tabitha and Tamarah are loyal to their parents and have been previously worried as they were put into short time care and this was not a pleasant experience. The Children and Social Work Act 2017 aims to progress and support looked after children accordingly ensuring they are safeguarded. The Act promotes corporate parenting attributes to LA and council ensuring they are the best suited parents for children in care. This will enhance their further developments and gain a solid trust within service understanding that they are only here for the girl’s best interest. (Local.gov.uk, 2018)
2) The Children Act 1989 was amended further in 2004. This implementation took place due to the brutal death of Victoria Climbe. A child who suffered significant harm such as violence, exploitation and abuse. The Laming Report found that local authorities failed to deliver on 12 occasions before her death which could have been prevented. The analysis from the court case suggested recommendations on how the system had errored. The impact of her death was the reason to various changes within the child protection system and was also due to the formation of the scheme ‘Every Child Matters’ an aid to benefit the wellbeing of children. (Community Care, 2018)
Based on reports it shows that the legislative framework ‘The Children’s Act 1989’ that is used in the cases of safeguarding children and young people is sound however there are areas of series weakness in the way it is presented, interpreted and implemented. The inquiry report from her case suggested that the system had failed comprehensively. (Keeping children safe, 2003)
The Children Act 2004 delivers a more revised legal agenda outlining the responsibilities and duties that were initially stated in the scheme ‘Every Child Matters’. The current act allows a wider strategy when intervening children’s lives that encompasses the universal facilities that every child can understand and access. Also, there are more specified and targeted areas for those with additional requirements. The purpose is to fulfil a more integrated approach to delivering, preparing and commissioning within child services including the improvement of inter-agency and inter-disciplinary work. This will allow a development of trust within both children and information sharing within agencies. The 2004 act hold great duty on all services to deliver. An example of this is to have procedures in place when working with serious cases, ensure staff have correct training to deliver the best of services as reports from certain cases mentioned poor co-ordination within workers rather than policies itself. (Barker and Hodes, 2007)
The local safeguarding children board (LSCB) which replaced the (ACPCs) have a statutory duty to agreeing how parties co-operate to safeguard in each locality. The Children Act 2004 helps set out core objectives and memberships which include health, education, voluntary agencies as well as police. The work of LSCB is to achieve an effective interagency practice to ensure the effectiveness of local communities input to the ‘staying safe’ results, including the dangers of road safety as well as neglect and abuse. The scheme also has the power to question individuals and agencies if their performance isn’t up to standard and if referrals are not being made when needed to be. The effectiveness of the LSCB will remit local inspections through review processes that cover all aspects within children services. (Barker and Hodes, 2007)
3) The systematic rulings in pre-industrial society wasn’t sophisticated and policies were child centred. There were many rulings before like the poor law act however they were generally broad and did not specify areas critically. In the 1940’s there was the establishment of The Children Act 1948. This was appointed after the death and neglect of fostered child Denis O’Neill described the system was inattentive to abuse and neglect. Institutions regularly put children in workplaces where they were further isolated and more open to abuse such as domestic service. Local authorities required to introduced a children’s committee and an officer. The current system provides a more adequate framework which balances the interests of parents, children and the state allowing practitioners to react strategically when in concern. Also, information gathered is assessed whether the system is effective, for both children and population including the inspection of services. (Safeguardingchildrenea.co.uk, 2018) (Batty, 2018) (Keeping children safe, 2003)
4) Social policies aim to regulate the system effectively to maintain a structured balance of care however the formation of policies can be complexed and not always correct. One of the social inequalities the family face is based on Tabitha’s learning difficulties/ disability to work at the same pace as her peers.
The Children and Families Act 2014 facilitates children with the services for additional educational needs and disability entitlements (SEND). The local authorities have a duty to provide information about the types of services which are available (education and healthcare) to families and children with SEND. The graduated approach involves a SEND coordinator to consult Tabitha assisting support whilst trying to coordinate a plan ensuring her needs and requirements are being met. A teacher may be able to agree on a provision best suited to her needs. With the assistance of SENCO, they can review the progression made and request further support if needed. An example of these services may vary from; occupational therapists to speech therapists. The help of SENCO stems an intervention promoting a legal duty to access the school’s curriculum and extra-curricular activities. SENCO highlights aspects such as the collaboration with curriculum coordinators are giving children with SEN equal priority and emphasis. (Adams and Leshone, n.d.)
Another inequality the family face is the parent’s drug and alcohol misuse. The danger of this type of habit can also diminish the parent’s ability to maintain the basic tasks of parenthood. Financial issues are further explained as parents often rely on food banks as they are managing their addiction as well as trying to provide food for the girls. The lack of consistency in parenthood will lead to a more future chronic effect of neglect. This is prominent already as Tamarah is already having the responsibility to look after her younger sister. This is adverse from of neglect as it can trigger physical and psychological consequences for the children now and in the future. (Barker and Hodes, 2007)
Family Environment: Drug Using Parents (FEDUP) is a targeted scheme helping families suffering from addiction. Initially, an assessment is undertaken to understand a bit more about the family background building self-esteem. Families work closely together with the team to develop a safety provision (plan). This helps the child to notice circumstances where they could be at potential risk and the action they should take to ensure their safety and avoid any harm. (NSPCC, 2018)
Adams, J. and Leshone, D. (n.d.). Active social work with children with disabilities. pp.6-9.
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NSPCC. (2018). Family Environment: Drug Using Parents (FEDUP). online Available at: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/services-and-resources/services-for-children-and-families/family-environment-drug-using-parents-fedup/ Accessed 14 Jan. 2018.
Nscb.org.uk. (2018). Section 47 Children Act | Newcastle Safeguarding Children Board. online Available at: https://www.nscb.org.uk/staff-and-volunteers/procedures/section-47-children-act Accessed 13 Jan. 2018.
Safeguardingchildrenea.co.uk. (2018). Child Protection Timeline | A history of Safeguarding. online Available at: http://safeguardingchildrenea.co.uk/wp-content/themes/vc_org_1/ChildProtectionTimeLine/childprotectiontimeline.html Accessed 14 Jan. 2018.
Stone, B. (1998). Child neglect. London: NSPCC.
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