Friday, December 28, 2012

[Feature: Child Care] As the future of mankind, our children need protection and support.


Children were supposed to be safely raised up in a loving family. For many children today, precariousness is the situation. Some societies have structures for protecting children; some have them only on legal paper. Whatever the situation, we can try our best to give them that security, safety and warm, enabling homes and environments.

The children are our future. Caring for them is the best investment any home can make. Credit: Save the children/Flickr.com.
They are supposed to have our support and protection, our trust and love. If the above needs are at risk, their lives become destroyed, their development stunted. They become endangered, feeding the circle of addiction, poverty, violence and gangsters.

Some societies have provided child support agencies to protect and support these children when the home environment becomes insecure. They receive, investigate and respond to reports of child abuse and neglect. These societies are willing and able to give them the right to an environment that should make them flourish, develop, be educated and taken care of. Some provide for child support in cases of family neglect. These are privately-supported communal initiatives, especially where the structures of state are deficient. Whatever the case may be, our children deserve the utmost care, love, support and protection.

Situations for child support

In 2005, Phoenix Sinclair, 5, was taken from her caregivers by her mother and her mother’s boyfriend, beaten and then slain. At the time of writing, there is an ongoing public inquiry into her murder. Social workers attached to her family had written reports several times before that she was living in a “high risk” family environment. Many children, like Phoenix, are unfortunate to be living in such a family.

Government child protection agencies and sometimes, communal child support services, are required when children are found living in unstable homes. Children that require child support and protection are:

  •  children from abusive or neglectful homes. 
  • children living in homes with domestic violence. 
  • children with biological deficiencies.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department for Children And Families in several states in the U.S, define child mistreatment as any act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or other caregiver that results in harm, potential for harm, or threat of harm to a child.
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It is also a physical, sexual or emotional mistreatment or neglect of a child or children. Neglect is a passive form of abuse where a perpetrator is responsible to provide care for a victim who is unable to care for himself or herself, like a child, but fails to provide adequate care. Includes non-provision of sufficient supervision, nourishment or medical care, or the failure to fulfill other needs for which the victim is helpless to provide for him- or herself.

Domestic violence against children is usually classed as abuse. But where children live in homes where there is constant negativity, fights and threats to involve the children in the fights are common, then those children are also exposed to domestic violence. Social workers usually recommend that where there is a history of substance abuse in a home on the part of any of the parents, especially in single parent homes, the child should be given institutional care.

Children with iodine deficiencies, immune deficiency disorder and vitamin deficiencies might need special care that would involve a skilled nursing service at the home which program is run by the state because the high cost of sustaining their lives using technology is beyond the reach of their families. In such cases, families have had to make sacrifices. In the United States, a state-run program for technology-dependent children exists and provides in-home skilled nursing services paid for by Medicaid, a health program for families with low income.

Legal framework for supporting and protecting children

Nearly every country in the world has a legislation supporting child protection and support. This is because, according to a Canadian legislative text, “the safety, security and well-being of children and their best interests are fundamental responsibilities of society.”

In the United Kingdom, (UK), the current UK child protection system is based on the Children Act 1989 which are based on principles for child protection and support, including the paramountcy principle that states that a child’s welfare is paramount when making any decisions about a child’s upbringing.

Canada’s Child and Family Services Act 1990 makes the child the focus of care and provides for their fundamental rights and basic freedom.

In the United States, The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), originally enacted in 1974, provides federal funding to states in support of prevention, assessment, investigation, prosecution and treatment activities and also provides grants to public agencies and nonprofit organizations for demonstration programs and projects. This Act was amended several times and was most recently amended and reauthorized on June 25, 2003, by the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003.

As we live in an increasingly digital world, kids also need digital protection. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), 1998, makes it mandatory for companies to collection personal information on persons or entities under U.S jurisdiction from children under 13 years of age. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces COPPA and wants to prohibit websites and mobile apps that target kids under 13 from setting up tracking cookies or using GPS location tracking for marketing without parental consent. These apps make kids vulnerable.

Principle for care: Children are the future of mankind

Where children find it difficult to live with their families (or extended families), they need safe, supportive homes. Sometimes, the best thing is to place them under foster care, that is, a family or person who can accept, support and care for them as their own. Foster care services are amongst many child protection and welfare initiatives governments and caring communities have used to ensure the welfare and survival of many children and their families. While foster care is institutionalized child caring service, child adoption can also be recommended where institutional care might not be adequate. The principle is to protect children from unfit parents. This is a source of great help to parents, especially when they do not realize how unfit they are usually because of poverty, mental problems, or are passively abusing their children (aka neglect) in ignorance.

Whatever the source of protection and support, be it in the home or under foster or adoptive care, the essence is that the future of the society, of a nation and of mankind as a whole depends on children and without governmental or community support for protecting and supporting children, the future of the world will be under attack.
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