The Children's Act 1989
Key features of the children's act 1989:
- The act aims to protect children from discrimination and abuse by giving children's rights and allowing children's voices to be heard and taken seriously and allowing children to be consulted about decisions directly affecting them wherever possible.
- The act complies with the paramountacy principle, which states that the child's welfare is of paramount importance, and as a result of this the act centres around the child's needs.
- Families of children in need (who are children unlikely to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of health for their development and disabled children) are supported by local health services and kept together wherever possible, allowing minimal disruption to the child and their family.
- The act works in multidisciplinary teams with other services in order to prove a more effective service and determine issues as soon as possible.
- Takes action to protect children who are at any risk from harm through care orders where children are removed from their home and placed in care, or through emergency protection orders where children are removed from their home in a crisis situation to ensure the child is safe
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Evaluating the Children's Act 1989
Strengths of the children's act are:
- Protects children from abuse and discrimination and ensures their safety through the acts compliance with the paramountacy principle.
- Minimal disruption to the child's life and their families as families are kept together wherever possible, and as a result of this, parents are more cooperative with local authorities resulting in the best outcome for the child.
- The children act provides a consistent approach as all children are protected and treated equally, therefore no children who are at risk from harm are missed by the act, resulting in all children being protected equally.
- The act enables children to have their views heard and taken seriously and are involved and consulted in all matters that affect them.
Weaknesses of the children's act:
- Young offenders (from the age of 10) are not offered the same protection under the act as other children are.
- Requires a lot of detailed evidence in order to bring parents into court.
- Does not change attitudes and opinions of individuals.
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The Disability Discrimination Act 1995
- The act is concerned with the equal treatment of disabled people and outlaws discrimination against disabled people solely on the basis of their disability, giving disabled peoples rights.
- The act covers employment, education, trade unions and associations, goods, facilities and services, housing, and public transport because disabled people, as citizens, should have the same access to public spaces and transport as non-disabled people.
- Reasonable adjustments must be made.
- In employment, employers are required to make 'reasonable adjustments' to the working environment to enable disabled people to work, for example altering work hours, permitting absences from work for rehabilitation or allocating some of your duties to another person, and these must be made before a disabled person comes to work for the company. IIn education, for example, disabled students must be able to access the education premises and should have equal access to the curriculum, which may be achieved through support workers, and resources should be provided for disabled students, such as suitable formats for reading, such as Braille for blind students. In transport, taxi drivers for example, must be able to carry disabled passengers while they remain in their wheelchair or if they wish to sit on a seat, allow them to carry their wheelchair without any additional cost.
- The act covers direct, indirect discrimination, victimisation and failure to make reasonable adjustments.
- Equality and Human Rights Commission oversees the implementation of the act in government policies, and undertakes formal investigations into cases of disability discrimination, whilst supporting and advising such victims.
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Evaluating the Disability Discrimination Act 1995
Strengths of the DDA are:
- Protects disabled people from discrimination and as a result has reduced disability discrimination.
- Gives disabled people rights and has promoted their equality of opportunity and has given disabled people more independence within society.
- Accessibility to facilities has improved as a result and disabled people, such as those who use wheelchairs for example, can access facilities more easily now.
- Raised awareness of disability discrimination issues, and high profile cases have ensured that employers ensure their company policies adhere to this piece of legislation.
- System of redress in place ensures that any wrongs are put right and that an employer's actions in doing so are well evidenced.
Weaknesses of the DDA are:
- Because the act is a fairly recent one in 1995, there will be some time before all areas covered make the necessary changes, for example trains although are covered by the act in that they are a form of transport, it will be a while until they are fully accessible by disabled people.
- The term 'reasonable' in the reasonable adjustments that must be made by a company as outlined by the act is extremely subject because a company's failure to make an adjustment to facilitate access for disabled people can be easily justified, for example if the cost is too high or if the change would not make a large enough difference.
- The cost to employers of making adaptations to buildings to facilitate access to services may be too much and too disruptive to the particular company/care setting.
- The act does not cover small organisations and businesses because of the costs involved, so there are still many places inaccessible to disabled people.
- Deeply indirect disability discrimination hard to prove because of the evidence required.
- The act does not change attitudes or opinions.
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