A Comprehensive Analysis of Child Safeguarding

Introduction

In the early years, well-being is important as it influences the children regarding the way they interact with the environment. The presence of stronger senses of well-being in children provides them confidence and assist them to become optimistic in maximizing their learning potential. It also encourages the development of the innate exploratory drive of the children along with create a desire for them to be responsive to one another and develop sense of urgency (Pérez de Albéniz-Garrote and Medina Gómez, 2020). Thus, in this study, the discussion regarding the achievement of well-being in the early years is to be made. For this purpose, the role of the agencies involved in safeguarding the children in early years is to be identified and discussion based on a child protection case study. Thereafter, the health initiative is to be achieved for children in the early years is to be discussed by critically evaluating a project related to children health and well-being. Research is to be executed to inform the way of supporting children and their families to overcome health issues.

Safeguarding Aspect

The safeguarding of the children in the early years is an important part of supporting their enhanced well-being and good health. In executing safeguarding for children’s well-being, various organisation and individuals are involved in the process (Moyles et al., 2017). The analysis of the serious case review no 2021/C8878 which is published by the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) mentions that Independent Foster Care Organisation is one of the agencies involved in recruiting and training foster carer in supporting and protecting the safety of the young children in their early years (NSPCC, 2021). The role of the independent foster care agencies is training individuals willing to be foster carers for children so that they have adequate knowledge and confidence in dealing with varied needs and demands of the child during fostering (perpetualfostering.co.uk, 2021). In the case study, it is seen that FC1 and FC2 have attended training at the initial stage for learning to be adequate foster carers. However, in the later years such as the review mentioned in 2016, it was found the FC1 was reluctant to attend training and follow new procedures in delivering care (NSPCC, 2021). As argued by Slabu (2020), the reluctance or avoidance to perform continuous training by the foster carer through independent foster care agencies create safeguarding issues for the children. This is because without regular training the foster carers would fail to maintain continuous professional development required for their actions to seamlessly provide protection and safe care to the children they are fostering.

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The other role of the foster care agencies is to evaluate and ensure the emotional well-being of the foster carers. This is because raising a child involves ups and downs in life for which foster carers are required to be emotionally supported through good as well as bad (Weilenmann et al., 2018). As argued by Randle et al. (2018), failure to provide emotional well-being to the foster carer makes them perform care in hindered manner. This is because carers are unable to control their negative moods and emotions created during foster caring which create hindered impact on the child out of delivery of compromised and hindered support. In the serious case review, no emotional well-being review of the foster carers were executed which may have led to identify the hindered attitude of FC1 and revealing his sexual behaviour. The role of the fostering agency is to assess the work of the foster carers and determine if they require further advice or support in handling any situation. The agency has the role to provide support of agency’s social workers to the carer on regular basis to guide them regarding the way to perform care actions (Gill et al., 2020).

In the review, no details regarding regular availability of social worker for FC1 and FC2 from the fostering agency was reported. The role may not have been played due to which FC1’s less involvement in the care remained unreported and unattended to be resolved. The role of the Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCB) is active identification and prevention of maltreatment of health and well-being of the children along with proactively work to protect the suffering and risk of harm or abuse towards the children in the locality as mentioned under section 47 in Children Act 1989 (norfolklscb.org, 2021). In the case review, the LSCB was seen to fail in identifying the sexual abuse caused by FC1 towards the children which led to suffering of the individuals who were not able to remember the incident or verbally reciprocate the facts. In contrast, the role of Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) to safeguard children is to act as a team to examine the risk of harm to the child and develop decisions on the best way to protect the child through discussion and gathering of information from partner agencies, families and children (oxfordshire.gov.uk, 2021). In the case review, no involvement of MASH was found which led to hindered decision-making in children sent to foster care.

According to 1(8)h Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, the Police and Crime (PCC) is liable to safeguard children under section 10 and 11 of the Children Act 2004 (legislation.gov.uk, 2011). The section 10 and 11 of Children Act 2004 mentions arranging effective support for the children by the local authorities to ensure their protection from abuse and safeguard them (legislation.gov.uk, 2004). The role of the police in supporting safeguarding of the children in the early years to promote their well-being is performing review of any complaints made by the children or on their behalf regarding abuse or harm. This is because it ensures examination and identification of the situation to determine the nature of assistance and protection required by the child to maintain well-being (Ford et al., 2020). As argued by Crawford and L’Hoiry (2019), failure of the police to immediately review and examine the reports of any harm or abuse towards the children leads to their hindered well-being. This is because without intervention from the police, the harm towards the children could not be ended as they are unaware due to their limited knowledge and innocence of the facts. It is evident from the serious case review, where the police on knowing the sexual abuse behaviour of FC1 from his surrendered statement performed examination leading to revelation and ending of the abuse towards the children which they are aware to be reported.

In supporting well-being of the children, the role of the Children’s Social Services provided by the NHS (National Health Services) and Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is to arrange adequate support and care for the children under abuse or harm to safeguard and protect them (NHS, 2021). In the serious case review, the Children’s Social Care of LA1, 2, 3,4 and 5 performed the role adequately by providing arrangement of foster care under FC1 and FC2 children who are in need of care. As criticised by Bamford (2020), the failure of the Children’s Social Services to review and examine the efficiency of care of the foster carers leads to lack of safeguarding of the children and violates their well-being. This is because the inappropriate and abusive actions executed by the foster carers towards the children put under their care remain unrevealed. The serious case review highlights the Children’s Social Care agencies from the localities does performed review of FC1 and FC2’s ability to care and identified they are efficient in delivery care without any issue being raised against them.

Health Initiative

The Rolfe’s reflective cycle is to be used for evaluating and reflecting on the National Healthy Schools Programme (NHSP). This is because the model provides enhanced framework for easier and systematic analysis of any situation or project (Sharples and Levett, 2020).

What?

The National Healthy Schools Programme (NHSP) is a joint project of the Department of Children Schools and Families and Department of Health to improve the health and academic achievement of the children along with enhance their social inclusion and inspire close working between education and health providers in the UK (dera.ioe.ac.uk, 2021). In order to determine the health initiative for the children, the NHSP is to be evaluated as it connected with the effort made by the UK government to enhance health as well as well-being of the children. The NHSP had four themes based on which the evaluation is to be made that are personal, social and health education, physical activity, healthy eating and emotional health and well-being (dera.ioe.ac.uk, 2021).

So What?

The baseline evaluation of the National Healthy School Programme (NHSP) on the theme of personal, social and health education mentioned that primary schools on an average achieved 6.6 of the criteria and secondary schools achieved 8 of the criteria on an average out of the 11 set criteria regarding the theme (Hussey, 2011). This explains that the secondary schools compared to the primary schools have better efficiency to provide personal, social and education to the children. The personal, social and health education to the children is important to make them develop skills, knowledge, understanding and attitude regarding the way of making informed decision in life to avoid unhealthy activities, perform social interaction to be included in society and maintain positive personal identity (Bye-Brooks, 2019). As argued by Green et al. (2020), failure to provide enhanced personal, social and health education to the children makes them develop hindered activities in life that are harmful for their health and ability to make social interaction. This is because hindered health education makes children to involve in unwanted health activities such as early sexual interaction, drug abuse and others (Ejike et al., 2021). Moreover, inappropriate personal and social education makes children unaware of the way to act by respecting all culture making them fail to show equality in acceptance of diversity needed for creating a unified society (Tamagni and Wilson, 2020). Thus, secondary schools fared well in educating children about health, social and personal life to make them more competent in taking appropriate decisions for ensuring their well-being compared to the primary institutions.

In regard to emotional health and well-being theme, the evaluation of the NHSP project mentions that on average 7.2 of the 9 criteria are achieved by the primary and secondary schools (Hussey, 2011). This indicates that both the primary and secondary schools have equally achieved more than half of the criteria set in the project to enhanced emotional health and well-being of the children. It is important as improving the emotional health of the children leads them to have positive mood, confidence and enhanced attitude in managing complex situation and problem at school (Verhage et al, 2021). However, it is argued by Lehrer et al. (2020) that hindered emotional health of the children makes them unable to reach enhanced developmental milestones and social efficiency along with fails them to cope with their problems. The review of the NHSP mentions that in none of school there were any bullying or discrimination mentioned to be present and vulnerable children are mentioned to be identified and managed through one-to-one relationships with the teacher to promote their emotional well-being (Hussey, 2011). The impact of NHSP on primary and secondary schools was that effective review of existing policies and practices are executed leading to create a more structured approach to ensure emotional well-being of the children which was not previously available at the place.

The evaluation of the physical activity achievement in pupils with the use of NHSP indicates that 7.2 criteria were fulfilled by primary schools and 6.7 criteria are fulfilled by secondary schools out of the 10 criteria (Hussey, 2011). This indicates that increased physical activity is promoted for pupils at primary schools compared to secondary schools. It also informs that less physical activity is supported for children with growing age in schools. The impact of the NHSP in both schools was that it was efficient in raising physical activity awareness. This is important as enhanced physical activity in school supports pupils develop enhanced physical health and ability to cope with risk of disease. This is because enhanced physical activity leads to promote active working and functioning of the body organs making pupils develop cardiovascular fitness, strong bones and muscles, weight control and others that reduces risk of cardiac issues, diabetes, obesity and others them (Rodriguez-Ayllon et al., 2019). It is argued by Cairney et al., (2019), sedentary activity at school for pupils where they spent most of the time of the day leads to hinder their physical health. This is because lack of physical activity makes the children fail to develop improved muscular coordination, control weight, increased and strength muscle and others.

In respect to healthy eating, on average it is found that in primary schools 6.9 criteria are fulfilled out of 11 criteria set in the NHSP whereas in secondary schools 7.7 criteria is achieved (Hussey, 2011). This indicates that there is poor healthy eating support for the children in the early years in schools whereas it is improved as they reach secondary schooling age. The healthy eating is important for children at early stage to prevent development of chronic disease and nutritional deficiency (Haines et al., 2019). As argued by Doustmohammadinan et al. (2021), failure to maintain healthy eating by providing children food which belongs from all the key food groups leads to comprise their health. This is because such foods do not meet the nutritional needs required for early age muscle and body development leading the children to have poor health. Thus, the analysis of NHSP mentions that the primary schools are to be more actively supported in involving and promoting healthy eating habits among the children as the early years are the main growth phase of the children. Moreover, during the early years the habits learned are carried forward by the children in the long term of their life.

Now What?

The NHSP analysis mentions that primary schools and secondary schools have equally excelled in promoting emotional well-being of the pupils through the project. However, primary schools experience more challenges in providing better personal, social and emotional education along with healthy eating in children compared to secondary schools where they experience challenges in promoting enhanced physical activity compared to primary schools. Thus, the primary schools required to invest more on recruiting potential health professionals, school nurses and dieticians to improve their challenging aspects in promoting well-being of the children as the professionals and dieticians can inform way to improve health and eating habits (Benjamin-Neelon, 2018). In contrast, secondary schools are required to focus on changing their physical activity curriculum and promote greater physical activity for enhanced physical well-being of the children as the trainer understand way to make children physically active at a steady rate with growing years (Carson et al., 2017).

Health Condition

In the UK, Asthma is the leading common medical condition faced by most children which is evident as 1 in 11 children and young people are mentioned to suffer from the condition. Moreover, the UK has the highest incidence, emergency admission as well as death rate for asthma in childhood in the entire European continent (PSNC, 2021). Thus, the ways of supporting families and children in the UK from asthma is to be mentioned so that better control of the disease is developed to ensure well-being of the children. The diagnosis of Asthma at the earliest in the children is to be achieved so that effective timely care can be provided to them. For this purpose, children under 5 years of age with suspected asthma is be diagnosed regarding the condition on the basis of clinical and observation judgement (NICE, 2021). Therefore, the families with children under the age of 5 are to observe the presence of probable symptoms regarding the disease and take the children to the physician for timely clinical judgement and administration of medication for controlling the condition and ensuring good health. The key symptoms of asthma to be considered by the families for the children are breathlessness, breathing with whistling sound, coughing wit sputum and tight chest (NHS, 2021).

The inflammation of the airways and alveoli that helps in carrying oxygen in and carbon dioxide outside the body triggers development of asthma. Thus, the allergens and elements which leads to the inflammation of the tube due to sensitivity towards them are to be identified and informed to the families and children (NICE, 2021). This is because identification of the triggers for asthma in children would help them as well as the families alert in determining the things to avoided from close contact to the children and way environment for the children are to be managed so that limited occurrence of asthma attack occurs for the children (Eguiluz‐Gracia et al., 2020). The common triggers for asthma in children are allergens such as dust, pollen, etc, smoke, increased exercise and cold or flu (NHS, 2021). Thus, the families and children are to be informed regarding the way to avoid cold and flu in different season and masks to be used by children to avoid dust and pollens in triggering asthma attack. Moreover, families are to instructed to avoid smoking near children and keep the environment dust-free through effective cleaning to ensure asthma control in children (Gupta et al., 2018).

The NICE guidelines mention that Short-acting beta Agonistic (SABA) is to be used as therapeutic intervention for children with newly diagnosed asthma in controlling the condition. However, in case of uncontrolled asthma in children who are 5 to 16 years, Inhaled Corticosteroids (ICS) and Leukotriene receptor antagonist therapy (LTRA) is to be used in controlling the condition (NICE, 2021). The spacer is to be used for children to provide SABA and other medication as it helps in inhaling the medication without any issue (Mei-Zahav and Amirav, 2020). The families and children affected by asthma are to be trained regarding the use of inhaler and spacer for taking asthma medication for ensuring their well-being (Weinstein et al., 2019). The families are to be instructed regarding the way they can use humidifiers and air purifiers at home to help the children get relief from asthma and avoid unnecessary asthma attack in them. This is because the purifiers help in making air at home free from pollutants that trigger asthma and the humidifier helps to ensure effective moisture is present in the environment to allow easy breathing by the children (Lee et al., 2020). In addition, the families of children with asthma and the children are to be informed regarding the breathing exercise to be performed to ease asthma and maintain healthy breathing (Das et al., 2019).

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Conclusion

The above discussion concludes that Foster care agencies, Local Safeguarding Boards, Multi-agency safeguarding hubs, police and crime department and others are key agencies involved in promoting safeguarding of the children from harm and abuse to ensure their well-being. The National Healthy School Programme (NHSP) is one of the current health initiative projects taken for the children in the primary and secondary schools to promote their personal, social and health condition, enhance their healthy eating along with physical activity and emotional health. The evaluation mentions that primary schools are more effective in promoting physical activity in children whereas the secondary schools under the project have shown more efficiency in promoting healthy eating, health education and social development. The ways to manage asthma which is one of the leading health issues among UK children in executing timely diagnosis, taking medication through inhaler and spacer, self-management through breathing exercise and others.

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