Every Child Matters
Every Child Matters is an extremely important policy initiative that has helped to transform children's services since it's conception in 2002. Whilst recently the Coalition Government has sought to turn away from the Every Child Matters terminology, it is vital to remember that the principles and structures behind Every Child Matters are still the basis for many governmental decisions for children to the age of 19, or 24 for those with disabilities.
The initiative led to the creation of the Children Act 2004, and has also been the subject of three other government papers. To ensure that the initiative was understood it had certain aims, to give children the support they need to:
- Stay healthy
- Enjoy and achieve
- Keep safe
- Make a positive contribution to society
- Achieve an economic well-being
In order to remember these goals a helpful acronym has been produced - SHEEP - Safe, Healthy, Enjoy, Economic, and Positive.
Every Child Matters has been vitally important in the improvement of Early Years provision for babies, toddlers and young children. This has meant that care and development of babies has risen in importance with outside agencies, and consequently those in the home have had to match this with improved provision for their youngsters. Therefore encouraging your baby to speak and helping them to develop at a rate they should be expected to has been far more publicly acknowledged.
Giving Your Baby the Best Opportunities
Alongside the success of Every Child Matters, and these aims, frameworks were produced to ensure that multi-agency partnerships were created giving the child the best opportunity to succeed. The initiative seeks to ensure that all agencies involved with the child work together and are aware of the contribution that they make to the child's well being. This led to the creation of the Common Assessment Framework or CAF, which helped to ensure that all agencies understood the needs of the child. CAF forms could lead to Team Around the Child meetings, bringing agencies together to ensure that the Every Child Matters programme is adhered to.
Whilst the current Government have decided to move away from this terminology, the influence of the policy has been huge across state schools and also the independent sector. It has given all agencies the chance to ensure that children are working towards the goals referenced in Every Child Matters and will be an influence on future policy. You may be unsure on how to understand your child's development but the guidelines behind Every Child Matters should help you and the people put in care of your baby to understand your child's needs and help them to reach the goals that the initiative has set out.