The Children Act of 1989
In this essay, I refer to the words Power and Duty. The word power in legal terms is the ability to do or act, which implies a choice. Duty is an obligation; something that law binds me to do. This essay is written in answer to a case study, which examines a situation, which focuses on the Children Act of 1989. This act was composed to protect the welfare of all children, whatever their circumstances and backgrounds.
“An Act to reform the law relating to children; to provide for local authority services for children in need and others; to amend the law with respect to children’s homes, community homes, voluntary homes and voluntary organisations; to make provision with respect to fostering, child minding and day care for young children and adoption; and for connected purposes.”
In this essay I am assuming the role of the social worker. In this case Peter and Jane have a baby son called David, who is about four months old. It says in section 2 (1), that where the child’s parents have been married before the conception of the child, they shall each have parental responsibility for the child, the meaning of parental responsibility is discussed in section 3. In this case, both Peter and Jane were married at David’s birth. Jane bought David in to hospital with a severe head injury. Upon examination by the hospital staff he is found to also have suffered previous injury to some of his ribs. This has caused grave concern and given rise to the hospital notifying the police. They in turn have gone on to notify the local authority, which has appointed me as David’s social worker. Under section 47 I have a duty to investigate the allegations and also a duty to contact all other agencies who might be involved with Peter, Jane and David, in accordance with section 47 (9 to 11) Since the information given is still only allegations (a hunch), I have to collect some evidence, not necessarily to use to prosecute Peter and Jane, but to promote David’s standard of living. However I should not let Parent / social worker communications compromise or hinder the health or welfare of David and when reading section 1, for the word ‘court’ I should subsidise the word ‘social worker’, or any other agency who has dealings with the child. My first question would be, is David a child in need, section 17, or at risk of significant harm due to the quality of parental care, this would encourage me to raise a supervision order [section 31 (2,9&10)]. The supervision order can last initially for one year, but can be extended in length for up to a total of three years [schedule 3 (6)]. If he were a child in need, then I would have to be of schedule 2 (1), which directs me to arrange the provision of services to the family and identifies a child in need. If there has been a break down in his care, as there seems to be in this case, then under section 17 (1), the local authority have a duty to promote the welfare and the safeguarding of the child....