Janet Riddell-Heaney, MA, RN, RHV, DipChild Protection, Cert Ed; Mary Allot, BSc, RN, RSCN.
Janet-Designated Nurse for Child Protection, Harrow Primary Care Trust, Harrow; Mary-Independent Nurse ConsultantIn our previous papers, we identified foundation child protection knowledge for health-care professionals and also examined how institutional racism may affect the delivery of effective child protection practice within the health-care field. (Riddell Heaney and Allott, 2003a, 2003b).
A step forward in clarifying what is exactly meant by culture and ethnicity is to use common definitions (Box 1).
Phillips (2002) suggests that a 'colour-blind approach' to child protection - common practice in the 1980s - was actually the process of judging families according to 'a white and middle-class view of normality'. This led to an immediate and automatic imbalance of power for many service users.
As a health professional who is working as an advocate for a child, consider how you should behave to ensure you are meeting the child's needs.
Identify the measures that you can take to ensure that communications with a child and family whose first language is not English are not inhibited.
As a nurse how could you redress any shortcomings in your own knowledge base and skills and where could you find the information?
The Laming Report (2003) is available on the website www.victoria-climbie-inquiry.org.uk Visit the site and download parts of the inquiry that relate to your work setting, for example hospital or community, and discuss the recommendations.
The first part of the National Service Framework for Children, relating to children in hospital, will be introduced soon. It will set new national standards across the NHS and social services for children and young people, focusing on when they attend or are admitted to hospital. Discuss in your department how you will address cultural, race and ethnicity issues when considering the implementation of the standards.
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