Introduction to Social Work Law
In the contemporary scenario, it is required to protect and safeguard the children so that they may not get associated with the risk and vulnerable group and people. Along with this, for protecting and safeguarding children, there are several norms and regulations framed by the UK government that are needed to be abided by social care unit. Present report focuses on assessing the pieces of social work legislation that support the children as well as adults from risks and hazards.
History of social work
Social work has its roots in the attempts of society which deals with issues such as poverty and inequality. It is typically associated with charity work; however most often it is considered as a broader concept. From ancient times, the concept of charity has been working which aids in providing services to the poor in all major world religions. However, the modern social work profession and program has its roots in 19th century which leads to many changes in the service delivery procedure. There were major changes in social work practice during 1960s and all such changes continued to exist in future as well. This has also changed the erosion of the psychodynamic influence in social case work.
Social work became specialism
Social work had a professional identity in the early 20th century and there are several formal standards in place. In this respect, the Council of Social Work Education has set some standards for managing professional resources. In recent years, a new system has emerged as a method which provides assistance for social services. Social work became specialist in 1994 for the purpose of alleviating poverty among people. Focusing on the causes of poverty through research and reform, early social workers in the movement provided the poor with educational, legal and health services. By the year 1913, there were around 413 settlements spread across 32 states in the nation which improves the lives of the poor.
1. Sub-divisions into specialism within variety of social work settings
Social care services are basically support facilities provided to vulnerable groups and people. These vulnerable people can be ill, disabled or endangered by certain risks and hazards. Apart from voluntary organisations and support groups, social care services are also given by private and public sector undertakings. The nature of their services though varies largely due to involvement of budgets and expenses. UK's leading public sector organisation to provide social care services is NHS-National Health Service. It has been providing several services like help at home, medical equipment, privileges in day centres, residential care, personal care takers, etc. Public sector is also referred as service sector because profit orientation is less. The business in this section operate to achieve sustainable goals rather than huge profits. NHS has been working with this aim to brace vulnerable and affected groups.
Indulgence of private sector in social care services has been increasing since technological developments have taken pace. Major contribution of this sector has been in manufacturing of equipment. Ambulances, machinery, medical research, training institutions, etc. have been major segments of social care in private sector. Since, orientation of this sector is mostly towards earning huge profits, the benefits to society and local communities are less. Residential homes, private nurseries and hospitals have been established for providing social care services. The Together trust operates residential homes for vulnerable children, people who are in the age group of 5-30 years. This organisation has been providing its social care services so that communities in England become a better place to live in.
Looked after team
Looked after team service have been particularly started for children services which has two basic team – Children Looked After team and the Leaving Care Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children team. The team is responsible for managing and supporting children and young people who are looked after by Harrow Council. However, on the other hand The Leaving Care and Unaccompanied Asylum Children team is responsible for young adults up to the age of 21 to 24 who prefer to live independently. The setting has many strengths as that manages the transition to the leaving care team or adoption team and along with that, it also determines permanency arrangement for looked after children. However, on the other hand it has weakness as well because it emphasizes only on a certain age group.
Youth offending teams
Youth offending teams work with young people who get into trouble with the law. The team usually look into the background of a young person and try to help them so that they can stay away from crime. The team is also engaged in running local crime prevention programmes and with that they help young people to keep distance from criminal activities. The team has a strength which shows that youth offending teams assist young people and their families at court and along with this, they also supervise young people in serving community sentence. However, on the other hand the work profile of such team do not turn out to be useful when youths are highly engaged in criminal acts.
Mental health team
Mental health team services have been started in Ireland with the use of a multi-disciplinary approach wherein a number of professionals offer their particular skills in a coordinated and complementary way. The major strength of the team is that it involves a number of professionals such as addiction counsellor, behavioural therapists, psychiatric nurses and vocational support trainers. However, on the other hand, the team sometimes lack in pointing out the areas of improvement.
Social work becomes a profession especially when the practitioners engage in different services that are essential from child and youth protection. Legislation for sub divisions in social work have been changed wherein new settings have been included for more safety and security purposes. In Social work, there are different sub- divisions such as clinical services, GP services and etc. In UK, for more than 100 years, social workers have cared for people in every stage of life. Social workers help others to overcome life’s most difficult challenges and it also manages the troubles of people related to addiction, abuse, unemployment and mental illness.
Definition of sub-division
There are several divisions in social work that changes the scenario of delivering healthcare services and a few are discussed as follows...
- Clinical practice where in general practitioners render care services to the public.
- Social care workers are engaged in rendering prominent services to the public people so that health standards can be developed.
- Multi- agency professionals are also involved in social work where in various care professionals work with charitable organization.
As a leading nonprofit community, the Y was established for giving responses to social challenges. The Y also understands that challenges have been occurring among individuals regarding support and social services; hence the youth team is engaged in supporting and delivering prominent services to the needy people. The Y also responds to all the issues and challenges which affects the lives of people. The community also provides support through rendering suitable services such as child welfare, community health, environmental education and family services. It is a private team in which several youths are engaged to resolve all the challenges occurring in public and social health.
2. Key pieces of social work legislations in last twenty-five years
Government of UK has proposed vivid variety of laws and regulations that are useful in safeguarding individuals that require social care services. Care Quality Commission is the functioning body that has been engaging all three types of organisation that is public, private and voluntary. Major legislations that Together Trust has to abide by are The Care Act 2014, Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 and Mental Capacity Act 2005. Children and old age people are considered highly vulnerable to dangers and risks due to lack of proper care and support. It has been observed that residential homes have grown within past few years. This sudden expansion was due to increasing needs for fostering children with disabilities. When complexity towards maintaining a healthy environment increases, residential homes are considered as the last resort.
The Care Act 2014 states that any person who requires care and support irrespective of their age, gender and background are eligible to avail health care services from the community, groups and other related organisations. The Together Trust has been functioning with regards to Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006. The organisation though has to follow other legislations also but its main objective is to safeguard children and young adults from abuses, harm, etc. This legislation of 2006 helped in protecting children from child labour and slavery, human trafficking, all sorts of abuse and disabilities. On the other hand, Mental Capacity Act 2005 was based on safeguarding people who lacked this ability to perform actions daily routines without any support. Mental Capacity Act helped people to plan and perform their activities which were not possible without proper social support.
3. The reasons behind introduction of laws in Residential Homes
Past few decades have witnessed severe developments ion policies and legislations that were implemented with an aim to safeguard individuals. With rapid industrialisation, the rate of criminal activities was also increasing. Vulnerable groups like disabled, physically ill, women, children, old age groups, weak adults, infants, etc. were at a big risk. To curb the growing cases of harm and abuse, several social and healthcare acts were formed. Government fulfilled its responsibility of safeguarding citizens from such abuses and harms in various social support organisations. Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act was thus formulated and implemented for respective communities and societies. It is important to apply such legislations because people require support and care only when they are unable to access certain daily requirements. Be it physical, mental, emotional or financial support, care services were organised under these legislations.
Another influential factor that resulted in application of these legislations was security from exploitation at care centres. It is not necessary that people who are safeguarding may be contributing to betterment of a care situation. The Safeguarding Act helped in abolishing this fear. Any sort of unethical practises that could originate at residential homes and care support centres are monitored and regulated through these acts. The Together Trust gives privileges to children, its responsibilities towards their protection and safeguarding increases. Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 helps in barring individuals that contribute to worsening of patient's conditions.
Residential homes do not treat vulnerable people as patients but do take their care with same context. They have their own assessment criteria which is to be fulfilled for acquiring particular social care services. With age restrictions, Together Trust has made its own functional area or segment. Setting up of boundaries like these help in managing human resource effectively. Care givers are an integral part of residential homes. They can be enhancers or destructors of organisation's image in society and communities both at regional and national levels. With implementation of Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act, it becomes a social duty of care givers to protect patients from any potential vulnerabilities. But the scenario will completely change when care givers themselves become a threat to care receivers. Hence, social groups and communities that are involved in such services are monitored by these acts and policies.
4. Use of legislations and their impact assessment
After implementation of the Care Act 2014, complete scenario of health and social care sector changed. Earlier times awareness regarding social care factors was not preferred. It was always considered as a responsibility of local hospitals and family members of the patient. But with changing times, developments took place and several social care groups came into existence with a concept to provide selfless services without seeking personal or organisational profits. The implementation of these judicial acts helped in creating a sense of responsibility amongst care givers. This act had a major impact over residential homes. Together Trust has been working with Safeguarding act as its principle rule for providing care services to individuals.
Mental Capacity Act provided certain benefits to mentally disabled personnel. Residential homes and day care centres have to follow these laws in order to function smoothly in UK. Moreover, the care quality commission monitors activities of all support groups which in turn adds value to these legislations. Ethical governance and decrease in abuse and harm from the side of care givers are major impacts of implementation of legislations. These charters have also contributed largely to well-being of individuals that reside in local communities. Specific needs are concentrated rather than giving generalised treatment. In addition to this feature, recruitment and training of staff has improved largely with help of these constitutional laws. From inspection to appropriate authorisation, the face of social care has emerged in a positive one after implementation of these laws.
But a negative implication that has been experienced by residential care homes is declining employment. Since, individuals have better options to earn money, they are do not seek any sort of job in this sector. Although less number of staff is not a big concern but skill levels are necessary. Hence, legislations have helped in growth and betterment of social care service givers.
From the above aforementioned report, it has been summarized that there are different professional care agencies that support health and social care firms in rendering services in the area related with safeguarding and protecting children. On the other hand, it also focuses on gaining knowledge regarding several reasons for introducing and amending the legislation within particular area for protecting and safeguarding the adults and children from risk. Lastly, it has also assessed potential impact of legislation on the health care setting.
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