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What is the Children Act 2004?

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The Children Act 2004 is a development from the 1989 Act. It reinforced that all people and organisations working with children have a responsibility to help safeguard children and promote child welfare across the UK.

Children Act 2004 summary

The guidelines set out in this act allow for anyone working in educational or non-educational settings such as social care services and working with children to know how a child should be looked after in the eyes of the law. 

This Act’s ultimate purpose is to make the UK a safer place for children and allowed for the creation of a Children’s Commissioner, as well as each local authority needing to appoint a director of children's services. It also allows the government to create electronic records for every child in England, Scotland and Wales which in turn makes it easier to trace children across local authorities and government services.

Principles of the Children Act 2004

  • Allow children to be healthy
  • Help children to be happy and enjoy life
  • Allowing children to remain safe in their environments
  • Help children to succeed
  • Help achieve economic stability for the future of children 
  • Help make a positive contribution to children's lives

What is covered in the Children Act 2004?

One of the main areas that the act focuses on is the wellbeing of children. The main part of the Act that most people will know about is the maltreatment of a child and the need to make their findings of maltreatment known to the relevant authorities. 

The Act also deals with Children’s Trusts. These are bodies that have been independently set up and are not necessarily affiliated with Health and Social Services and other government agencies (i.e. designated health professionals). It aims to provide co-operation and relationships between these two as well as teachers, parents or guardians who might not always welcome the intervention or outside sources. 

A fund has also been set up in this Act which is designed to help get rid of poverty and financial hardship by those in disadvantaged financial circumstances. It is aimed to help children ages 5-13 maintain attendance at school.

All of these points fall under the Children Act 2004 but the main and most important purpose is to ensure and provide the best levels of care and protection. The interests of children are paramount in their welfare and safeguarding, and anyone working with children has this responsibility.

Youth Offending Teams  (YOTs) child act 2004

The 2004 revision of the Children's Act also contains provisions that are specific to Youth Offending Teams (YOTs). One of these main provisions is listed below:

Section 10 of the Children’s Act of 2004 requires local authorities to encourage collaboration among local partners, including the police, public health,, probation services, and youth offending teams, to better the well-being of children in their region

What is The Children and Young Persons Act 2008?

The main goal of the Children's and Young Persons Act 2008 was to - in a child's best interest - to provide boundaries and support for local authorities and/or other entities to regulate official intervention.

The United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child is the basis of UNICEF's work. It contains 54 articles that cover all the aspects of a child's life and puts different responsibilities for the Government and other bodies to make sure children have the stated rights. The Government should make sure children are protected from any type of sexual/physical/mental violence, abuse, injury, exploitation, neglect, maltreatment while they are living with parents or in the care of anyone else. 

The Equality Act 2010 makes sure that all of the protected characteristics - age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation - are protected.

HM Government Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 states the need for policies and procedures to this effect:

Training [is necessary] for people who work with children or in services affecting the safety and welfare of children [...] Training should cover how to identify and respond early to the needs of all vulnerable children

Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015), Chapter 1, Section 4

Employers are responsible for ensuring their staff are competent to carry out their responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and creating an environment where staff feel able to raise concerns and feel supported in their safeguarding role. 

Staff must be given appropriate supervision and support, including undertaking safeguarding training.

Staff should be given a mandatory induction, which includes familiarisation with child protection responsibilities and procedures to be followed if anyone has any concerns about a child's safety or welfare.

In England and Wales, every council area has its own Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) -  a partnership made up of the local council, schools, social services, NHS, Police, Probation Service, Emergency Services and other local organisations involved with children. The LSCB is legally responsible for putting into practice a child-centred approach and working together to oversee the safety and well-being of children and young people in their area.

In Scotland, this role is provided by Child Protection Committees, and it is the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland who are responsible for this in Northern Ireland.

The information and advice in this training course follows:

  • HM Government's statutory guidelines in, Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015
  • HM Government's publication, What to do if you're worried a child is being abused
  • And is in line with Level 1 of the competency framework in the Intercollegiate document, Safeguarding Children and Young People: Roles and Competencies for Healthcare Staff 2014.

KCSIE 2018 Changes 

Any organisation that purchases ANY of our Education Courses can receive free access to our KCSIE 2018 course. This statutory guidance is compulsory training for anyone working in Education and is enforced by The Department of Education. 

Other relevant legislation: 

FAQ & Resources

We have a multitude of subjects included in our FAQ Resources area and within our Safeguarding FAQs we have a Safeguarding Children Section to answer some of the questions we have been asked by our clients! We also answer any questions you might have about our Safeguarding Children Course. 

As well as this we also have a Schools: Children Health FAQs and Safer Recruitment FAQs section.

Our Safeguarding Courses

Our Safeguarding Bundle includes our courses that can be used to effectively train people working with and safeguarding children. 

Our Safeguarding Children Course has been designed for anyone has contact with children, this could be through a job or volunteering. Training is essential. It includes; what safeguarding is, recognising abuse, responding to abuse, reporting concerns and recording observations. Browse our full Safeguarding training bundle as well as essential courses such as First Aid training.

Safeguarding Children Courses