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Children Act 2004

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 12 Oct 2020 | comments*Discuss
Children Social Services Health And

The Children Act 2004 provides the legal basis for how social services and other agencies deal with issues relating to children.

These guidelines have been laid down so that all individuals who are involved in the looking after children, be it in the home, the work place, school or other locale are aware of how children should be looked after in the eyes of the law.

Principles of the Act

The Children Act 2004 was designed with guiding principles in mind for the care and support of children.

These are:
  • To allow children to be healthy
  • Allowing children to remain safe in their environments
  • Helping children to enjoy life
  • Assist children in their quest to succeed
  • Help make a contribution – a positive contribution – to the lives of children
  • Help achieve economic stability for our children’s futures

This act was brought into being in order for the government in conjunction with social and health service bodies to help work towards these common goals.

The Children Act 2004 provides the legal underpinning to 'Every Child Matters: Change for Children' (2004). In response to the Children Act 2004 there have been some structural changes. From April 2006, education and social care services for children in each local authority have been brought together under a director of children's services.

Key Areas of the Act

Several key areas of the Children Act 2004 which are – again – in the throes of reform are the levels of Inter-Agency co-operation when it comes to matters relating to the well being of children. This particular element of the Children Act ensures that any agency that is aware of the maltreatment of a child – or the misconduct of a child’s legal guardian – should make their findings known to other agencies that might have a hand in the protection of a child who would normally go unmonitored.

The Children Act 2004 also deals with Children’s Trusts; bodies that have been set up independently of Health and Social Services and other government agencies as a means of introducing co-operation not only between these agencies but between teachers parents, guardians and children alike who would normally be dismissive of intervention from outside sources.

In addition to this the Children Act 2004 also made provision for a Children’s Fund; this fund is designed to aid in the eradication of poverty and financial hardship felt by underprivileged children or children who’s family’s financial circumstances leave them disadvantaged.

The idea of the Children’s fund is to ensure that children between the ages of five and thirteen are in regular attendance at school. The fund also helps to reduce the risk of crime carried out by children between these ages and to try – where possible – to ensure that these children have the best possible start in life.

Again all of these remits fall tightly under the umbrella of the Children Act 2004 and all of them are required by law to be carried out to their fullest in order to ensure – and provide – the best and most accurate levels of care and protection.

This is, of course, not to say that Social Services and other government bodies have taken to interfering in the lives of many British citizens but the systems are in place to ensure that those who need to benefit from them do so in a way that is none intrusive and as relaxed as possible.

The Children and Young Person Act 2008

In addition to the Children Act 2004 the government has also introduced The Children and Young Person Act 2008. The main purpose of The Children and Young Person Act 2008 is to extend the existing framework of children in care in England and Wales and to make sure the care they receive is well supported, of high quality and tailored to their needs.

The act also aims to improve the stability of placements for children and young people in care whilst also improving their educational experience and achievements'.

If you would like more information on the Children Act 2004 and its subsequent reforms your local Social Services department and/or Local Education Authority (LEA) will be only too happy to help.

Find out More

For more information on child welfare and protection have a read through our articles on Child Welfare When Working With Kids and also Child Protection and Working With Children.

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Also forgot to mention that the social worker has not seen me, spoke to me or carried out an assessment.. Should that not if been done at the start after all the issue isn't with the kids mother an to me shes getting punished for an outburst that I had especially when no1 else was hurt or around an we were not living together either.
Tiny - 6-Nov-19 @ 10:57 AM
Can anyone please explain how social worker can go to my now ex house an tell her if she doesn't end it then she wont keep her kids an if there's contact same will apply. What neither of us understands is why and how if the kids where staying at their dads? I went very next day to my gp cause of my out burst as its not my nature and have been getting professonal help. Neither myself or my partner wants any of this at all cant see why social would say that if kids where not there to witness anything at all or ever. My ex feels there is no options for us. Can anyone offer advice on this please.
Tiny - 6-Nov-19 @ 10:39 AM
chloe loves nobody because she is a loner (secretly she loves me)
chloeloves - 27-Mar-19 @ 1:06 PM
Sophie loves nobody because she's a loner (secretly she loves me)
sophieloves - 27-Mar-19 @ 1:03 PM
My child who is 10 and is registered disabled.He is non verbal and is at the first stages of sign language.He has global developmental delay.He has been on a toileting programme at school to try and get him out of nappies.Last November 2017, two teaching assistant witnessed my son standing outside of the toilet crying and signing toileting with both of his hands (usually it is one hand) and said he was very distressed.The teaching assistant (TA) who was with my son stood in front of the toilet door and refused to let him go.It was reported to his teacher and a formal investigation was held by the school.On the 1 May 2018 this year a hearing was held at the school.I was sent a letter last week advising me this TA is still employed with the school.I can not express how upset I am that she is still working there.What she did in my opinion was cruel and what else has she done that people haven’t witnessed.I am worried about her still working there with venerable children.I expressed all of my concerns to the head teacher last November.The head teacher informed me I was not allowed to know who the TA was and was given the limited information above due to employee confidentiality.What about my rights and my child’s rights?We haven’t been told anything apart from a brief description of what happened.They agreed to move her from my sons classroom at my request so I know who it is and have been advised not talk to her. I want to know exactly who witnessed it, what they saw and what the TA in question is saying happened.I want to know what disciplinary action if any has been brought against her but no I have been told I have no rights even though it happened to my child.I have been left not trusting anyone.He is non verbal and has limited understanding.People could be cruel to him at school, he can come home and I wouldn’t know anything about it.He goes to a disabled summer club and I am thinking about not sending him as I am so stressed upset and nervous that something will happen to him and I won’t know. They have a safeguarding policy at the school - so why is she still there?When I ask questions they just say a formal investigations has been carried out and appropriate action was taken.I cannot express my anger, frustration and deep despair over this situation.Any advice would be very much appreciate as I feel I have no one to turn to.
Dotty Ali - 31-May-18 @ 9:18 AM
I have social worker who as bi ln in her job 2 and half years. Claims she as master degree and I considered that she living and used some one els degrees to get her job how can I check this also I was at the school when my social worker was refused entering the school cause she not provided her dbs certificate have I got right to be worried about this social worker and can she she take me to court for removel my kids if she as not had dbs check and if she only training social worker
Cowley86 - 26-Jan-18 @ 11:49 PM
What law, act or legislation states that I can legally move out of my parents house into a safe home at 16
Dj - 26-Oct-17 @ 4:09 PM
@bubblecola24 - The Victoria Climbie case opened many doors regarding things like child protection, same with the Baby P case. Theres many articles on how successful these changes have been
babz - 26-Aug-17 @ 5:35 PM
why did the children act 2004 come in and has it been successful . i need this answer for my school project and i cannot find it on the internet anywhere.
bubblecola24 - 13-May-17 @ 10:17 AM
@Wall - Children's views are listened to in court or by Cafcass aged 11 and over. But they can be asked when they are younger. If she doesn't want to see her dad unsupervised. I'm sure the court won't force her.
JoJo - 12-May-17 @ 11:56 AM
My daughter is 6yrs old what age is a child listen to when court is involved and she does not wish to see father unsupervised as there is safety issues.
Wall - 11-May-17 @ 5:58 PM
My daughter is to be assessed against s17 Children Acto 1989.She is 16 has special needs since birth..with LEA statement due to her learning difficulties. She had a routine which worked as I and family provided all the support outside of the school. She does not understand time day or math and is not inclined to do anything unless 'prompted' and organised except live in her own private world skipping around or writing incessantly. Her body clock is off sync and she stays in with little contact with friends. Since I am now unable to support her routine she is not leaving the house nor going to school. 100% attendance to 20% and health, LA and social careCWD teams are passing the responsibility around depth all not wanting to be involved as she doesn't meet criteria or have a diagnosis. What should she be assessed against and who is the best agency/service to do this? Does she need tof have a diagnosis??Herneeds are pretty obvious....
Dj - 17-Jan-17 @ 9:06 AM
The Every Child Matters document states it is from birth until 19 years old. However, I am curious how to 'safeguard' those between ages 18-19 as they are technically adults? A lot of what I am reading keeps referencing 'children's services' - but is an 18 year old pupil covered by this? It's all very confusing how older pupil's should be treated / protected? Adult social services? Children's services? And what if (as an adult) they don't want help?
Magpie - 29-Oct-16 @ 12:15 AM
@Lauren - Both work together to safeguard children and take all reasonable steps to prevent harm coming to them.
Angie 78 - 18-Oct-16 @ 11:16 AM
Howare the protection of children's act 1999 linked to dbs?
Lauren - 17-Oct-16 @ 12:14 PM
I have two toddlers; one is one year and the other has just turned 3 years. My in-laws, out of their selfish reasons (Tribalistic) and inferior, picked up my kids from home and hid them from me for a month till police intensified the search together with the flying squad team. The one year old was born a premature and had spent two months on oxygen and in anincubator, the other too is so little. These people are displaying their ignorance together with their so called lawyer to violate the rights of my kids, claiming they are filing for safe custody so they take the kids away from me.They tried to force my hubby shun away from me so they can get him another woman to marry and instead he stole the kids from them and all have no idea that the kids were brought to me and living happily with my husband.For crying out loud, am not yet dead,am financially stable, very sane and these goons think they can deprive me of my kids. How can the law protect my kids from such monsters?
Vera - 9-Mar-16 @ 3:09 PM
can someone tell me a list of legislationsthat you need if you were to open a child care centre please as im struggling to find answers
chicky - 21-Feb-16 @ 6:57 PM
If a father prevents a child from attending religious services he would normally attend with mother is it abusing one of the Child's Rights ? Dad cancelled youth club and Sunday school again but solicitor says it's okay to do what he wants during his contact time. It's on a court order though that they agree with me. That contact should include taking him to his activities
Formyson16 - 13-Feb-16 @ 12:43 AM
Do classroom assistants families (people who live with them) have to have a crb check?
bubble - 1-Feb-16 @ 12:44 PM
i work in a children's home and the y/p that lives there has been told she can only have a meals at a certain time. Ie: breakfast 8 till 10, lunch 12. Till 13.30, and dinner 17.00 till 18.30. If doesn't get out of bed which happens a lot she can't have any food. She went to go in the kitchen last week at 14.00 and was told she'd missed the time slot so couldn't eat till dinner time. It is a small semi detached house were children and staff prepare their own food. Surely this is unexceptable
Toby - 27-Dec-15 @ 1:40 PM
Fayza - Your Question:
Why was the children's act 2004 introduced to help children who suffer from depression/ mental health and what has the act achieved from helping the children's that suffer from depression/mental health

Our Response:
This sounds alike an essay question to me. Therefore, you would have to do your own research into the answers. I hope you get good marks!
WorkingWithKids - 2-Dec-15 @ 2:00 PM
why was the children's act 2004 introduced to help children who suffer from depression/ mental health and what has the act achieved from helping the children's that suffer from depression/mental health
Fayza - 1-Dec-15 @ 11:14 PM
moster - Your Question:
When was this site made and last updated?

Our Response:
The Children's Act 2004, still stands. If there have been any changes made to legislation you can find them via the gov.uk link here. I hope this helps.
WorkingWithKids - 4-Nov-15 @ 11:48 AM
when was this site made and last updated?
moster - 3-Nov-15 @ 9:15 AM
i really enjoyed this helpful information, also girls hit me up
Dr Hairline - 11-Sep-15 @ 2:17 PM
@Jan - I am very sorry to hear this, and how distraught the parents must be feeling. However it is not an issue that we can advise on, due to the fact it has become a police investigation. Unfortunately, the ruling will be towards the protection of the child. His parents should talk directly to whoever is heading up the investigation, as they will be able advise on what is happening.
WorkingWithKids - 11-May-15 @ 11:57 AM
Parents that I know have a critically ill child who has been in intensive care for the last 12 days.The child is autistic and non verbal. Investigations have shown that he has poison relating to Ethnol Glypol in his body.The parents have not left his side apart from sleep for the last 12 days.Child protection and police are involved because the have had to investigate school, his taxi and of course his home which the parents have absolutely acknowledged and supported. When the parents arrived at the hospital today they were met by a Senior Practitioner from social services and another social worker who informed them that they were not allowed to remain with the child unless a social worker was present.They have not had any meetings, received no order or paperwork and are distraught at leaving their 12 year old child. What should have happened and what authority do Social Services have to do this.They have told the parents that if they do try and visit their boy outside the h ours when they can provide a social worker to be present they stand the risk of being arrested.These are people that have never been involved with the Police and as well as being distraught and fighting for their child's life have no idea how to deal with social services.Please can you help me by giving some information and advice.
Jan - 8-May-15 @ 9:17 PM
@Andy - As long as you do not have a police record then you should clear the DBS clearing. Also, as long as you do not live with someone who has had a police record as you can now fail a DBS through association. If you feel unsure, have a word with your line manager - but there is no reason that just because you have had personal problems it should stop you working with kids.
Carrie - 7-May-15 @ 12:25 PM
I've been asked to be an adult volunteer with the ACF. However, in October last year I had a breakdown and was thinking of cutting my radial artery (I had the knife in my hand). This was after a year where my wife had major surgery with complications and the money problems associated with that, which I was trying to off set by working as many extra shifts as possible. I was also trying to support my wife after it came to light that her mother's father was sexually abusing family members. And after an argument over a stupid thing, I literally flipped. However, I am receiving support through cognitive therapy and medication. I have also been referred to a specialist team for possible undiagnosed ADHD. My question is, am I now barred from volunteering with the army cadet force.
Andy - 6-May-15 @ 5:35 PM
well done for the work which you do. May God continue to bless you and grant you the strenghts needed to continue assisting these vulneravle children, so that they may one day help those around them with similar situations.
The Holy Spirit - 30-Apr-15 @ 6:33 AM
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