Explain the importance of adopting a Human/Children’s Right Approach to care/education practice.
Any concept of Human Rights was near extinction following the effects of the brutalities within the Nazi concentration camps and World War II. There was a desperate need for change and this brought about Rights for all in 1948 when the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights was finally introduced. Following this ground-breaking principle it was not until the 19th and 20th centuries that the rights of children began to be contemplated. At first, negotiations of children’s rights were concentrating more on protection rights e.g. outlawing child labour, instead of children being entitled to their own rights as equal citizens. During the first and second World Wars millions of child were left unprotected, gassed, killed or orphaned. After the war the Declaration on the Rights of the Child was drafted. The post-war government was pressurised to protect children’s rights.
While the rights of children were included it was disputed that the specific needs of children warranted further documentation. It was some 30 years later in 1989 that the Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. The United Nation’s Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is the first legal international means which incorporates the full range of human rights; civil, cultural, political, economic and social rights for the protection of children.
The Children’s Right approach is a principled and practical framework for working with children, supported by 54 Articles. All of the 54 articles are linked and no right is more important than another, therefore the Convention must be seen as a whole. It is placing the UNCRC within the centre of a child’s experience of education giving them opportunities to be at the core of school planning, teaching, discussion making, policies and practice. Children now know they have a voice and will be listened to, without discrimination of any kind irrespective of race, colour, language, gender, religion, property, disability, national, ethnic or social origin.
The UNCRC underpins child protection policies, healthy schools and global citizenship within education practice. The UNCRC forms the basis of the national approach adopted by the Scottish Government for supporting child called Getting it Right for Every Child.
As the government signed up to the UNCRC they must uphold the rights of children in their country and abide by the convention. By using the UNCRC as a framework it guarantees the health, well-being and safety of children giving them the best start in life.
Describe and evaluate two pieces of legislation and two policy frameworks related to care or education provision.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by governments worldwide in 1989 but not ratified by the UK until 1991. The government made a commitment to ensure children would be identified as being actively involved in their own learning in all aspects of their life. In light of these promises the government developed legislation, policies and frameworks in accordance with the UNCRC Charter.
Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 made an impact by placing children and young people at the centre of planning and services ensuring their rights were valued. Major sections of the Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) approach have been introduced into law under the Act and aims to strengthen children and young people’s rights as outlined in the UNCRC. GIRFEC which is the national holistic approach to improving the wellbeing of children, ensuring they develop to their full potential and are respected as people in their own right. The GIRFEC framework ensures all national and local practitioners, services and agencies work collaboratively to put the best interests of the child and their families at the centre of decision making. This encompasses Articles 3 of UNCRC which states the best interests of the child should be the primary concern of all adults when making decisions which may affect them. The well-being indicators are inter-connecting and link UNCRC to policies and government initiatives. The well-being indicator covering Health relates to many UNCRC Articles but in particular Article 6 ‘A child’s right to live and be healthy’.
The core components emphasised in Article 2 regarding the right to be treated fairly are underpinned within the GIRFEC framework that no matter what background or need every child and young person has, they can rely on support, ensuring they get the right help at the right time.
The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 provides the legislative framework for Scotland’s child protection system, covering:-
• parental responsibilities and rights
• duties and powers public authorities have to support children and intervene if there are concerns about a child.
The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 is the legislation supporting The Child Protection Policy which looks are protecting children from harm. A child or young person’s wellbeing is affected by their surroundings, the different requirements and experiences at different stages of their lives. UNCRC recognises the right for children to be protected from harm emotionally and physically. The Articles within the UNCRC Charter also identifies the right for children to be heard and listened to. Children do not always have the power to protect themselves, it is essential that Practitioners are supportive and nurture development and progress within a safe environment. Numerous Articles included in the UNCRC are endorsed within Child Protection Policies some of which are:
• 12 Every child has the right to express their views, feelings and wishes in all matters affecting them, and to have their views considered and taken seriously.
• 19 Children should be protected from all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and bad treatment by their parents or anyone else who looks after them.