There are numerous laws relating to children and young people in the UK. The most influential of these is the Children Act (2004). It identifies five outcomes for children; be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution, achieve economic well-being.
I have to follow welfare requirements according to my registration. Legislation is the laws, rules and regulations passed by Acts of Parliament. The following four pieces of legislation are important for home-based childcarers and are outlined below.
Childrens Act (1989, 2004)
This legislation was the first acknowledgment in UK law of children’s rights, encapsulated by the phrase: ‘the needs of the child are paramount’.
The Children Act 2004 (the Act) provides the legislative spine on which the reform of children’s services is based. It aims to improve and integrate children’s services, promote early intervention, provide strong leadership and bring together different professionals in multi-disciplinary teams in order achieve positive outcomes for children and young people and their families. Local authorities are given a lead role in securing the co-operation of partners in setting up children’s trust arrangements and the Act allows some flexibility in how these are structured and organised.
The Act aims to improve effective local working to safeguard and promote children’s wellbeing. The Act takes a child-centred approach and includes universal as well as targeted and specialist services. Part of the aim of integration of services, plans and information is to enable young people’s needs to be identified early to allow timely and appropriate intervention before needs become more acute. The success of local implementation will be assessed by the achievement of the Every Child Matters outcomes for children and young people:
• be healthy;
• stay safe;
• enjoy and achieve;
• make a positive contribution; and
• achieve economic well-being.
Equalities Act (2010)
This is the Government’s law to make sure all people are treated fairly and equally.
The Equality Act 2010 makes your rights not to be discriminated against stronger. Discrimination means treating someone worse than other people because of who they are.
The groups of people who have the right not be discriminated against have also been extended. People who belong to these groups have what are called protected characteristics.
It doesn't matter whether any of these characteristics apply to you, or the people in your life. If you are treated worse because someone thinks you belong to a group of people with protected characteristics, this is discrimination.
The Act also protects you if people in your life, such as family members, friends or co-workers have a protected characteristic and you are treated less favourably because of that. For example, you are discriminated against because your son is gay.
The characteristics that are protected by the Equality Act 2010 are:
• gender identity and gender reassignment
• marriage or civil partnership (in employment only)
• pregnancy and maternity
• religion or belief
• sexual orientation.
If you have one or more of these protected characteristics, it is also now against the law to treat you the same as everyone else if this treatment will put you at a disadvantage.
The Equality Act 2010 covers you at work and when you use services, such as shops, hotels or gyms, hospitals or other free services.
Data Protection Act (1998)
This legislation prevents confidential and personal information being passed on without a person’s consent; in the case of children the consent must be given by the parents.
The Data Protection Act controls how your personal information is used by