The Children Act 2004 holds:
The interests of children and of young people are substantial when taking safeguarding and welfare into account.
It is everyone’s responsibility to safeguard children.
Safeguarding children and young people is achievable through the improvement of their:
- education and development;
- safety; and
- economic circumstances.
In accordance to the guidelines enacted by the Children Act 2004, people specifically working closely with children should be able to determine how a child should be taken care of, regardless if they are in an educational or non-educational environment.
The purpose of this Act is to make the UK a safe environment for children by creating a Children’s Commissioner—in which each local authority will need to appoint a director for children’s services. In line with this, the government may create electronic records for each and every child in England, Scotland, and Wales to centralize tracking of children in different local authorities and government services.
The principles of the Act focuses on:
- allowing children to be healthy;
- helping children to be happy and enjoy their lives;
- allowing children to be safe in their environment;
- helping children succeed;
- helping children achieve economic stability for their future; and
- helping to make a positive contribution to the lives of the children.
Generally, the Act is prioritizing the wellbeing of children. If in case a child suffered from maltreatment, it is a must to let it be known to relevant local authorities. In several areas of the Act, it is emphasized that inter-agency cooperation is a must when dealing with matters relating to the welfare of children. This element of the Act particularly ensures that when an agency becomes aware of a child’s maltreatment, other agencies that might be of help in protecting the child will also be informed.
The Act also deals with agencies that were set up independently of Health and Social Services together with government agencies wherein there’s an introduction of extended cooperation between agencies, teachers, parents, guardians, and children. This is to prevent dismissal of intervention coming from outside sources.
The Act also made a provision for a Children’s Fund designed to help or assist in eliminating poverty and financial struggles of children and their families who aren’t privileged enough because of their financial situation and capabilities.