Duty of Care includes the concepts:
• to keep individuals safe
• to keep individuals free from harm
• to give choice
Duty of care is a key concept in working with other human beings. It is a legal term for safeguarding self and others.
Children and young people are often vulnerable as they are yet to develop the physical and cognitive capacity to fully care for themselves; they need care and protection from the adults around them. Health and social care organisations have what is called a duty of care towards the people they look after. That means that they must do everything they can to keep the people in their care safe from harm.
‘Duty of care’ means a requirement to exercise a ‘reasonable’ degree of attention and caution to avoid negligence which would lead to harm to other people. Working with children and young people brings a significant duty of care and we need to recognise that the younger and more vulnerable the child the greater the duty of care. Your vigilance and attention keeps children and young people safe as they develop:
• the ability to foresee and cope with potential dangers
• more robust immune systems
• empathy –understanding their actions may hurt or upset others
• communication skills to be able to talk about harm others may be doing to them