Summarise current legislation and guidelines for the safeguarding, protection and welfare of children

Qualification: NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Educator
Unit: Unit 2.2: Understand legislation relating to the safeguarding, protection and welfare of children
Learning outcome: Understand legislation and guidelines for the safeguarding, protection and welfare of children
Assessment criteria: Summarise current legislation and guidelines for the safeguarding, protection and welfare of children

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In the United Kingdom, children’s safeguarding, protection and welfare are governed by several pieces of legislation and guidance. These have been summarised below.

Children Act 2004

The Children Act 2004 is the primary piece of legislation governing child protection and welfare in England and Wales. It sets out the duties of local authorities, police and other agencies in relation to protecting children from harm. Agencies are required to work in partnership, and the Act established statutory Local Safeguarding Children Boards. The Act also made it unlawful to hit a child if it made a lasting mark or caused mental anguish.

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Protection of Children Act 1999

The Protection of Children Act 1999 was passed with the aim of preventing unsuitable persons from working with children.

The act requires childcare organisations in England and Wales to provide the Department of Health (DoH) with details of anyone known to them who is suspected of harming children or putting them at risk. The DoH then collates this information and shares it with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The DBS use this information to make sure that people who are deemed to be a risk to children are not able to work with them.

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Working Together to Safeguard Children

Working Together to Safeguard Children‘ is statutory guidance issued by the givernment which sets out how agencies should work together to protect children from harm. The guidance was originally published in 1999 but has seen several updates – the most recent update was in 2018.

It sets out the roles and responsibilities of various organisations, agencies and individuals and describes how an effective safeguarding system should work. There is a lot of information in this document and it is recommended that all Early Years practitioners read it in its entirity.

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Children and Families Act 2014

One of the primary goals of this piece of legislation was to reform several services that are used by vulnerable children, including fostering and adoption services.

Other legislation

Other legislation that relates to child safeguarding include:

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  • Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003
  • Children and Young Person’s Act 2008
  • Equality Act 2010
  • Children and Families Act 2014
  • The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1992
  • The Human Rights Act 1998
  • Keeping Children Safe in Education 2019
  • Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018
  • The Children and Social Work Act 2017
  • The Education Act 2002
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