Principles for Implementing Duty of Care in Health, Social Care or Children’s and Young People’s Settings

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1. What duty of care means in children and young people settings?

Duty of care is a requirement to exercise reasonable care, attention and caution to avoid negligence which would lead to the harm of other people.

‘The fundamental obligation that anyone working in child care, whatever the type of service and whatever their role, is to keep children safe.’ (Marilyn Hopkins LLB, Dip.Ed.. (March 2006). DUTY OF CARE. Available: last accessed 26/10/11)

It is generally accepted that people in authority have a responsibility for those in their charge. Therefore practitioners in childcare settings owe a duty of care to the children in their care. They are seen as
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Care – ‘Serious attention and thought; caution to avoid damage or loss; protection’ (The Oxford Popular Dictionary, 2nd Edition, published 1995 by Parragon Book Service limited). Meaning we plan and prepare in detail to minimise hazards and risks in order to protect.

Duty of care promotes vigilance in the things we do and the service we provide, it reduces accidents and contributes towards protecting people and keeping them safe. It puts laws in place to set the standards and best practise we must follow to ensure the safety and well being of individuals. It protects children, yourself and visitors to your setting. Without Duty of care, it would be up to the individual’s conscience and personal standards to safeguard children as there would be no legal standards to follow or benchmark set.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is the statutory framework that all early years childcare providers must follow. ‘The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) brings together: Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage (2000), the Birth to Three Matters (2002) framework and the National Standards for Under 8s Daycare and Childminding (2003)’ (Children and Young people’s Workforce information sheet, The Early Years Foundation Stage, level 3 Diploma 2011)

The EYFS contains general welfare requirements which are specific legal requirements that must be complied with, and statutory guidance to follow that will
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