Children: balancing rights and risks
'Getting it Right for Every Child' (or GIRFEC) is the 'golden thread' (Scottish Government, 2013b) that lies at the heart of the Scottish Government's approach to children and young people. GIRFEC is a consistent way of working with all children and young people in Scotland. In Section 3 you read about how taking this approach aims to improve outcomes for children, young people and their families.
If you are unfamiliar with GIRFEC and the 8 wellbeing indicators (also known as Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected and Responsible, and Included (SHANARRI) outcomes), you will find it helpful to view this short video summarising the approach before moving on to explore questions about risks and rights:
At the heart of Getting it right for every child is the promotion of children’s well-being; that they are: H ealthy, A ctive, N urtured, A chieving, R espected and R esponsible, and I ncluded, and above all, S afe. But, just as children have the right to be protected from risks that are harmful, they also have rights to be supported to take risks - to take part in activities or take on new responsibilities that stretch, excite, reward and inspire them. So when we think about risk and children, we need to be able to weigh up the balance between children's rights to be free from harm and their rights to develop and grow. Being 'safe' cannot be neatly separated from other important outcomes for children, such as health, or being included in their families and communities. And there is no question that risk of harm to children has to be taken seriously:
If a child is unsafe, all the other indicators are likely to be affected to a greater or lesser extent . The Getting it right for every child practice model requires early identification of risk of harm, identification of risks to children’s development, identification of needs, analysis of the evidence, decision-making and planning how to proceed.(Aldgate and Rose, 2009, page un-numbered)