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Summary of MRG Answers

The Australian Institute of Family Studies under the Government of Australia has defined a child who needs protection as being abused or neglected, has been abused or neglected or is at risk of being abused or neglected in the future. This is a matter of concern as it can affect both the physical and the mental health of a child and the scars of such abuse or negligence can remain with them throughout their lives. As per the Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2019, emotional abuse can lead to disruption of cognitive development and impairs his sense of self-worth. Constant withholding of love, guidance, and support to children from their parents or their carer can make them detached from society. Hence, it is the responsibility of everyone to give them a good life and save them from the detrimental impacts of such problems. As it is an international issue, both federal and provincial governments have joined hands in making appropriate legislation to regulate the administrative bodies concerning healthcare, safety, and wellbeing of children. This essay delves deep into the discussion of the policies of the government and the role of nurses in child care.

A Mandated Reporter is the one who remains in touch with vulnerable communities and has the legal authority to report any observed cases of abuse or if there is any suspicion of abuse. According to the NSW government’s Communities and Justice, mandatory reporters are authorized by law to report any form of child abuse or negligence a child is facing. By law, registered and enrolled nurses are allowed to take part in this and become mandatory reporters of the government. As per the case study, the RN (Registered Nurse) can be the Mandatory Reporter. According to the Mandatory Reporter Guide, there were 3 steps to complete mandatory reporting- Decision Tree, MRG, and Next steps. In the Decision Tree section, the type of problem a child was facing had to be determined. Negligence of an infant can be determined by the failure to provide physical, medical, and emotional support to the concerned child. Hence, the category selected was Neglect of supervision of a child, as in the case study provided, Emma (Brendon’s grandmother) revealed her matter of concern to the Registered Nurse (RN), that the infant, Brendon was being neglected by his mother, Chloe and he is not being taken care of properly. This can have adverse effects on the infant as he is often left alone for long periods and he is left with diapers unchanged. Hence, it shows that Chloe is not concerned with her child’s health as heavily wet diapers may lead to different kinds of health problems like candida rashes, as examined by the RN on Brendon’s nappy region. In the MRG section, the dangers related to the suspected adverse impacts of the negligence of the child were to be mentioned. The risk of abandonment was ruled out as Brendon was not likely to be abandoned as he was under the care of Emma. But as Chloe, being his primary supervisor, was disregarding his basic requirements, the question regarding the inattentiveness of his parents was marked as ‘Yes’. Other concerns for Brendon were recorded as the falling of weight from the 50th percentile, as recorded during his birth, to the 10th percentile, as recorded during his 6th week. It was listed as a matter of concern as it may be indicative of any underlying health issue. As this case study is only concerned with the health issue of Brendon, hence, it cannot be considered as an issue of safety and wellbeing of a group or class of children or young people.

Discussion of Child Protection

This decision report reflects the matter of concern for a child, as reported by the Mandatory Reporter. This aids in the involvement of the government in ensuring child protection and safety.

Child protection is a major concern for any state. Protecting children against or from any real danger is the main objective of child protection policies and procedures. These policies reduce the degree of harm and increase the rate of protection of children from difficult circumstances. These policies are introduced to ensure that children are brought into an environment of safety from the situation which deprives them of social security. These are also formulated while keeping the rights of children like the right to health and the right to a basic standard of living, in mind. Hence, failure to comply with such policies has adverse impacts on child rights.

According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies under the Government of Australia (2022), child protection is considered to be of utmost importance in which the government authorities have the right, by law, to intervene in family settings in order to provide care and protection to deprived or neglected children. In Australia, both territories and states are responsible for the governance and administration of child protection policies and supervision of child protection services.

Several child protection policies have been implemented in Australia and its territories, some of which, related to child negligence, are as follows-

  • In the Australian Capital Territory, Children and Young People Act (ACT Childcare Services) Standards 2009 was introduced, which aimed at providing positive guidance to children and encouraging the promotion of appropriate behavior among them. It also aims at promoting equality irrespective of age, cultural values, and intellectual and physical development.
  • In Northern Territory, Children’s Commissioner Act, 2013, has similar implications as that of the above laws. It holds child care as a paramount concern. Hence, it aims at promoting the safety and well-being of deprived children.
  • In Queensland, the Family and Child Commission Act, 2014, was introduced with the objective of advocating the responsibilities of family members and associated communities in child care. It established the Queensland Family and Child Commission, which was given the power of overseeing the child protection system and improving policies concerning child safety and wellbeing.

According to Dillon, Greenop & Hills (2016), nurses can act as social workers while taking care of children. The school nurses often take up the responsibility of promoting appropriate behavior among children. They should be polite while handling children.

Segal et al. (2018) described the nurses’ role in preventing child abuse and neglect. Home visiting programs by nurses like Nurse-Family Partnership in Central Australia were targeted to improve child outcomes. These helped to reduce child abuse significantly.

Grahn, Olsson & Mansson (2016) explained the nurses’ obligation of reporting child abuse, in the case of its occurrence. This is required to be done to prevent violation of child rights.

As per the case study, Brendon’s case should be reported by the nurse. According to Turner et al. (2017) the nurse is required to coordinate with the local healthcare agencies to protect rights of Brendon.

Child neglect is a major type of offense committed by parents or carers, which deprives them of their basic rights. Negligence for children may be physical, mental, emotional, and educational. As per the case study, the infant, Brendon, did not get proper care from his primary supervisor, his mother, Chloe. Lack of attention and supervision, and failure to provide basic care like keeping the child in a healthy environment, so that he stays safe from risks of diseases, can be considered negligence on the part of the mother. According to Shallard (2019), child neglect and abuse have long-lasting negative impacts on their health and wellbeing. These impacts also have the capacity to disrupt the normal life of an individual by making him/her physically and mentally weak. Hence, registered nurses and pediatric healthcare professionals should join hands to take care of deprived children. Wilson et al. (2017) have pointed out the role of nurses in this case. Their actions can have a significant impact on reducing stress and negative impacts on children. Shellard (2019) has mentioned that nurses go through several stages of emotions like disgust, sadness, and anger arising against the perpetrator while working with child abuse and neglect. These cause frustration and distress while managing abused children.

Discussion of the Obligations of the Registered Nurse

The legal framework helps the nurses to reach their goals. The existing laws aim to train nurses in tackling the emotions and circumstances that come up in front of them. Legal obligations prompt them to make a strong bond with the family of the child and help them identify the risks they are putting their child in, that is, the nurse could bond with Emma regarding Brandon’s problems. They have the authority to visit a child at risk and evaluate their development. Nurses can also identify the issues in the lifestyle and activities of parents that are detrimental to a child’s health and can advise them to rectify the problems. Appropriate legislations also allow nurses to report their concerns through platforms like NSW Mandatory Reporter Guide (MRG), which could also be reported in Brandon’s case. The Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection Act 1998), makes it legal for mandated reporters to report any issue regarding child neglect and abuse.

According to Kumari (2021), the ethical framework that helps nurses to reach their goals is recognizing the basic rights of a child such as the right to nutrition, the right to receive respectful care, and so on. In Brandon’s case, he should be given optimum care by the registered nurse. The confidentiality and privacy of the child and his/her family must be maintained. As per the case study, details of Brandon’s family should not be disclosed under any circumstances. The principles of beneficence and non-maleficence should be maintained, that is, a nurse should not cause any harm to a child intentionally or unintentionally, that is, the nurse should make a proper diagnosis for Brandon’s health issues. They should ensure justice for all children irrespective of their gender, culture, and so on. Nurses should maintain fidelity, that is, should be faithful toward the agreement of responsibility and commitment.

Conclusion

From the above discussion, it can be concluded that the role of nurses in child care is essential. Child protection is regarded as a major concern across countries. It has been prioritized by both the federal and provincial governments of Australia, which have made and implemented strict laws for child welfare. These policies are aimed at reducing the degree of harm caused to children due to abuse and negligence. As it impairs both the physical and the cognitive development of a child, it is a matter of concern and a sensitive national issue. The laws are aimed at giving the children their basic rights of survival, protection, love, care, and guidance. Some of the policies implemented by federal as well as territorial governments are the Children and Young People Act (2009), Child Protection (International Measures) Act (2006), Children’s Commissioner Act (2013), the Family and Child Commission Act (2014), and the Children and Young People (Safety) Act (2017). Implementation of such policies has made parental care mandatory for children. Taking care of abused or neglected children by registered nurses is also a legal and ethical obligation.

References 

Child Family Community Australia (2022). Australian child protection legislation. Australian Institute of Family Studies. Retrieved 6 April 2022, from https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/australian-child-protection-legislation.

Barr, A. (2009). Children and Young People (ACT Childcare Services) Standards 2009 [Ebook]. Australian Capital Territory. Retrieved 6 April 2022, from

https://file:///C:/Users/Admin/Downloads/2009-11.PDF.

Child Protection (International Measures) Act (2006).

https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/whole/html/inforce/current/act-2006-012#:~:text=This%20Act%20is%20the%20Child%20Protection%20(International%20Measures)%20Act%202006.&text=This%20Act%20commences%20on%20a,to%20be%20appointed%20by%20proclamation.&text=(c)%20that%20a%20child's%20best,for%20protecting%20the%20child's%20property.

Children and Young People (Safety) Act (2017).

https://www.legislation.sa.gov.au/__legislation/lz/c/a/children%20and%20young%20people%20(safety)%20act%202017/current/2017.25.auth.pdf

CHILDREN'S COMMISSIONER ACT (2013).

https://legislation.nt.gov.au/en/Legislation/CHILDRENS-COMMISSIONER-ACT-2013

Dillon, J., Greenop, D., & Hills, M. (2016). Participation in child protection: A small-scale qualitative study. Qualitative Social Work, 15(1), 70-85.

https://doi.org/10.1177/1473325015578946 

Grahn, M., Olsson, E., & Mansson, M. E. (2016). Interactions between children and pediatric nurses at the emergency department: a swedish interview study. Journal of pediatric nursing, 31(3), 284-292.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pedn.2015.11.016

Kumari, D. (2021). Legal and Ethical Aspects of Child Care. Retrieved 6 April 2022, from

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/350071365_LEGAL_AND_ETHICAL_ASPECTS_OF_CHILD_CARE.

Segal, L., Nguyen, H., Gent, D., Hampton, C., & Boffa, J. (2018). Child protection outcomes of the Australian Nurse Family Partnership Program for Aboriginal infants and their mothers in Central Australia. PLoS One, 13(12), e0208764.

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0208764

Shallard, G. A. (2019). What are the perceptions of nurses working in child health regarding their role in child protection?: a mixed method study: Master of Philosophy in Nursing at Massey University, New Zealand (Doctoral dissertation, Massey University).

https://hdl.handle.net/10179/15422

State of Queensland. Family and Child Commission Act (2014). https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/pdf/inforce/current/act-2014-027

Turner, W., Hester, M., Broad, J., Szilassy, E., Feder, G., Drinkwater, J., ... & Stanley, N. (2017). Interventions to improve the response of professionals to children exposed to domestic violence and abuse: a systematic review. Child abuse review, 26(1), 19-39.

https://doi.org/10.1002/car.2385

US Department of Health and Human Services. (2013). What is child abuse and neglect? Recognizing the signs and symptoms. Child Welfare Information Gateway, https://www. Child welfare. Gov/pubpdfs/what scan. pdf. Accessed May, 13, 2017.

https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubpdfs/whatiscan.pdf

Wilson, D., Gonzalez-Guarda, R., & Campbell, J. (2017). Abuse and violence in families. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 26(15-16), 2097-2099. doi:10.1111/jocn.13829

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