Introduction How a changed environment can aid your development How your local authority could improve your quality of life Educational factors that your local authority should consider

How the environment can be improved for kids

Local authorities can help make safer environments for children and youth. They are legally required to provide support and assistance to children and youth who need outside protection from ill-treatment, neglect, or bullying. This support and assistance is usually provided through a wide range and level of services to the child’s family, in order to reduce the need for outside care or supervision orders. However, there are some steps the local authorities can take to help all children and youth stay safer.

Local authorities can promote prevention of ill-treatment and neglect

Whenever possible, local authorities should work to prevent the ill-treatment and neglect occurring in their areas. They should assess the amounts, types, and most frequent causes of abuse and neglect prevalent in the local areas. They should then work with partners and the local community members to address those causes of abuse and neglect.

For instance, domestic violence is a major cause of ill-treatment and neglect of children and youth. Local authorities and their partners can help reduce the amount of domestic violence by providing a variety of courses to the community. These courses could include interpersonal relationships, anger management, financial management, communication skills, and parenting classes. Drug/alcohol abuse and sexual addictions are also major factors in ill-treatment and neglect of children and youth. Local authorities and their partners could make individual, marriage, family, and drug/alcohol counselling, as well as mediation services available through schools, churches, or a community centre.

Local authorities can train adults to recognise the signs of abuse and neglect

The child or youth may think the treatment he or she is receiving is normal, so may not think to ask for outside help. Thus, all adults who work with children should be taught how to recognise the signs of abuse and neglect. The local authorities should also teach the general public to recognise the signs, and provide an easy way of reporting suspected neglect and abuse.

Local authorities can quickly, yet accurately assess the environment’s safety level

Whatever the cause, it is up to the local authorities to quickly determine whether the child or youth is safe enough to be left in his or her environment. The local authorities should make every effort to quickly, but accurately assess the child or youth’s entire environment. It’s also important that the child gets a say as to what accommodations are made.

However, every effort should be made to ensure the new environment isn’t just as bad as or worse than the old environment. Every foster or adoptive family should also be completely assessed before the child is placed. If there is no hope of restoring the child to its own family within a reasonable amount of time, then arrangements should be made for a quick adoption.

Local authorities can integrate their services to provide better protection and service

Therefore, the various agencies should work closely together, and share as much information as possible in order to provide the best protection and earliest intervention for the child or youth. It’s highly important to ensure the child or youth doesn’t get lost in the social care system if he or she must be placed in foster care or put up for adoption. Additionally, the child’s health, education, and social care services must be a highly integrated, positive experience throughout his or her transition from childhood to adulthood services. Safety matters and local authorities can greatly assist their communities with providing safer environments for youngsters.

Copyright Dudley PTFC 2010 All Rights Reserved