This assignment focuses on safeguarding and how legislation, such as ECM (Every Child Matters) has developed. Furthermore, explorations on developments and critical evaluation on its effectiveness in relation to Playwork today are made.
Safeguarding children is more than just child protection but is about obtaining a more comprehensive approach that prohibits children from any potential harm. It is also about educating professionals and parents to prevent or deal with the situation in the most appropriate manner. Furthermore, by having the correct multi-agency team working in the setting, supporting children, will assist in the creation of a honest and open culture.
Over the last decade, there has been immense progress in the play sector, which has meant that play has gone through the play initiatives funded by the big lottery and the importance of play is now recognised at a national level (Lester and Russell, 2008). Therefore, although Playwork enhances and enriches children’s play, the aim of Playwork is to support children’s play. Furthermore, the Playwork principles establish the ethical and professional framework for Playwork describing the uniqueness of Playwork and play for all working with children.
In essence, the 1989 Children Act aimed at ensuring that children’s welfare was paramount, effectively working in collaboration with parents to protect children and strengthening children’s legal positions, giving them equal rights. The Children Act 2004 was developed to further improve the lives of children and some of the major policies, legislation that playwork is obliged to adhere to when providing Playwork provision is the Children Act (2004) which has been developed from Every Child Matters (ECM), as this applies to all adults working directly or indirectly with children or providing services for children in any capacity (DCSF, 2007). The Children Act (2004) further developed in (2006) aims to strengthen and further enhance systems for safeguarding young children and creating a framework which allows all children to have an enhanced opportunity to achieve positive outcomes in major areas of their lives.
The developments of these polices and legislation due to significant issues in the past, such as the death of Victoria Climbie in 2000, has forced polices and legislation to be revisited and re-strengthened. Furthermore as times have changed and as new issues have arisen, the act has been forced to strengthen safeguarding and child protection in all places that have contact with children, whether it be an educational setting, home or a service provided to children. Although these are not radical changes in the Children Act 2004, wider reforms are achieved by initiating amendments in culture, professional practices working with children to unite services together.
Since the first publication of ECM, 2003, all professionals working with children have a more firm statutory obligation of safeguarding and supporting children’s well-being. Hence, the Playwork principles establish professionals and the ethical structure for Playwork, describing the uniqueness of play and Playwork today, providing Playwork perspectives for working with young people. These principles are therefore based on recognising how the enhancement of positive development can be achieved, if children have a range of play environments, opportunities and safeguarding practices in place.
So, with the Every Child Matters (ECM) (DfES, 2004b) it has five outcomes for well-being, which are now goals for the ECM agenda, which support safeguarding. The ECM agenda restructures services concerned with education and well-being of the child and thus, services are bound together to ensure the five ECM outcomes are achieved (Knowles, 2009).
According to the latest Ofsted inspection criteria for Every Child Matters Agenda (ECMA) it outlines that from…