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Care in Contemporary Society

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Social Work
Wordcount: 3834 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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Care in Contemporary Society

Sociological Perspectives

Functionalist is the focus on society as a system of different parts that depend on one and another. Institutions perform different functions within society to keep it going. The government provide education for children but in turn the families pay taxes which the government depends on to keep it running. Families depend on the school to provide children to become educated and grow up to have good jobs to support their own families. Children will eventually support the state when they become law-abiding and taxpaying citizens. If it does not go well the parts of society must adapt to recapture a new order, stability and productivity. Functionalists believe that society is held together by social consensus and members of society agree and work together to achieve for what is best for society. Functionalism does not believe that people should take a role in changing their social environment even if change may benefit them. Functionalism sees social change as undesirable as society will compensate for any problems that may arise itself.

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Symbolic interactionism is a micro-level theory, its theory focuses on relationships between individuals within a society. The exchange of communication through language and symbols is believed to be the way which people adjust and make sense of their social world around them. Symbolic interactionism suggest that people tend to live or do things they think other people want them to do. It is how we interact with or see people or things around us, this has an impact on how we think or preserve things. It is on the theory’s that explain the thoughts process in a person that makes them who they are.

Another sociological perspective is conflict theory. Conflict theory is when there is conflict between individuals or competing groups in human behaviour within society. Inequalities has the potential for the social conflict to exist due to race, gender and economics. Conflict theory has been used to explain the difference in behaviour in humans and the social change in society. Conflict is relative not just by class but can be by a person’s race, their gender, their sexuality, their culture and religious this is among other things.

Legislation and Framework

Education (Scotland) Act 2016 is related to education provision its aim is to tackle poverty and inequality, to improve education attainment levels for all. It has been designed by building existing activities which is supported from additional funding for Scotland’s most deprived communities. Scottish ministers and local authorities were placed for additional responsibilities in the act to reduce inequalities of outcomes when exercising their functions relating to school education. Certain children will have rights to question regarding support needs they have this is to ensure there are gaining the most out of their learning. It ensures all education duties are carried out by the local authorities. On the other hand, schools not in poverty area do not get these same benefits who then may risk not having the same attainment levels as the schools who are getting this extra support. This legislation works in well with Achieving our potential were there aim is set out to reduce the high levels on income in equality by reconnecting people to mainstream economy and provide them with opportunities. Employment can be limited due to lack of qualifications which in result declines chances of earning a decent wage. This can be lacked if children do not have a balanced upbringing and they are led to believe that the that unemployment is the norm, they will have no aim or belief to work and earn a living.

The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 was brought in to strengthen the rights of children and young people living in Scotland. It helped to identify problems in an early stage to which create a support system for children and young people rather than waiting till it had reached crisis point. Every three years the local authority must report what has improved the rights to children and young people in their care. In the education department every child in their care has a named person, that named person will support that child and their family if needed. The name person in a school is usually the head teacher, in my opinion the headteacher does not get the full picture of the children when they aren’t seeing the child 5 days a week, they only get reports from the teacher. I feel the teacher knows the child and has more communication with the child and their parents than the head teacher does. So, I feel the child would benefit if the teacher was the named person as they have built more of a relationship. The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 has a link with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). In the UNCRC article 28 ‘I have a right to an education’ (Commissioner, 2018) the UNCRC says that children and young people have the right to an education regardless of who they are, where they are from, their gender or if they have a disability. They have a right to education within primary school and secondary school, within secondary school children have a choice to choose different subjects to help lead them in the path they would like to achieve. This allows them to focus on technical training allowing them not to focus on academic subjects if they do not want to. By supporting children in education, the government should make efforts to support children to reduce them from dropping out of school. This isn’t always the case as children have a right to leave school if they wish at the age of 16. Ensure teachers are treating children with respect and not humiliating them. The government should also ensure children are not bullied by teachers or class mates. Although bully does exist, I feel it is hard to put a stop to bullying. Children are bullied in and out of school, and I feel with our human rights we are limited of what we can do to punish a child for bullying another child.

Public Issue

Social democrats believe that the government should invest in education and use it to improve equality of opportunity and in return it is the best way to ensure education also contributes to economic growth. It is a shared value in society, if education was to be taken away from use it will go against use for our shared value of freedom of choice. We will not have justice to be protected and the solidarity that we all share for gaining an education. This is not always the case as children living in poverty or from families of drug addiction or alcohol do not always get the same education chances as the wealthier families. Children from addiction parents will not attend school every day due to lack of encouragement from their parents, this does not give them the same education as others and are at risk of falling behind in school.

Another public issue that has arisen in contemporary society is single parent’s households. More children are being brought up in single parent families, children brought up in these families are at risk of poverty which can have an impact on children and can lack in freedom which is one of the fundamental value within social democracy they do not get to choose who they would like to live with one parent tends to take the lead in parenting, they are expected to have more responsibilities at younger age especially if that single parent works. Children also do not get to go out and do as much as a child whom both parents have higher earnings compared to a single parent who do not earn as much. They do not get to make as much choice this could be due to family fallouts, they could be staying at their mum’s certain days then dads the other days. Families in most situations help each other in my experience of being a single mother my family rallied together to help me but not everyone is as lucky. Children from single families still get the same opportunities as others, they still get the same education, NHS and other things. This is within their human rights to receive the same opportunities as others whilst being an individual.

Human Rights Approach

A human rights approach is about making sure people know about their rights. It gives people opportunities to be able to shape and decide on the impact within their human rights. We need a human rights approach to respect diversity and to promote equality. Ensuring human rights will help everyone receive safe and good care. The human rights approach gives an increase in ability of people with responsibility to fulfil their rights and recognise how to respect those rights. The PANEL principles are the underlying principles which make up the fundamental importance of the human rights-based approach and puts it into practice. PANEL stands for ‘participation’ were everyone has the right to have a say in decisions that affect their human rights. The A in panel stands for ‘accountability’ this is when effective remedies and monitoring for breaches in human rights. ‘The N in PANEL stands for ‘non-discrimination and equality’ this is where everyone should be equal, and all discrimination must be prevented or eliminated. E standing for ‘empowerment’ this is where societies should know their rights and the L in PANEL stands for ‘legality’ this is where needs are recognised and that rights are legally enforceable. We must consider cultural norms and the behaviour within other cultures, such as in some culture’s children are married of at 14 years old or younger and are expected to take on duties of a wife or a mother they children do not get a say on who their husband will be their father will pick that for them. This does not give children choices or freedom to make their own choices. In western childhood children were considered as mini adults they dressed and acted like adults such as worked like adults and done the same leisure as adults done they did not have the same childhood as children of modern society. Children in the past were not shielded from adult life; sexual relations were not considered harmful to children. Were as children in modern society are shielded and protected by rights from sexual relations. It was claimed that there was no concept of childhood prior to modern times (Anon, n.d.) Children in modern society have more freedom, choice and rights compared to children in the past.

Human rights approach has informed my practice in a few ways, everyone is entitled to an education it is within your human rights and the UNCRC believe that a right to learn can change a child’s life. (Anon, n.d.) Within my placement and may other schools children’s human rights approach are met within the pupil councils as children have a right of speech about their school, how they would like things done they can express their views and the voice can be heard. Children and young people depend up on an adult for food, love, care and protection is I child does not get this it is violating their human rights also ensuring children are not victims to ill treatment from an adult and they know they can voice if they are and know where to go for support to ensure their human rights are not violated.

Following the SSSC code of practice it will ensure human rights approach will improve childhood practice in section 1 of the code of practice for social service workers states ‘As a social service worker, I must protect and promote the rights and interests of people who use services and carers.’ (SSSC, 2016) This prevents children from becoming at risk and safeguards them from any potential risks.

The Universal declaration of human rights is the foundation for modern day human rights it began in 1948 after the second world war. It was adopted by the general assembly of the United Nations it had set out a collection of rights and freedoms of which everyone in world were entitled to. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was used to secure the basic rights for their selves and for other nationalities within their borders. The convention was ratified by the UK in 1951 but did not come into force until 1953. In 1965 the first racial discrimination legislation was addressed in the UK, at this point it only covered discrimination in certain public areas. Also, in 1965 the international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) this defined what constitutes to race discrimination and sets of a framework to ensure civil, political and economic rights are enjoyed by everyone. The UK granted the rights for people to take cases to the courts in 1966. Sex discrimination Act was made illegal in the education and provision of goods, employment and services in 1975, a year later the Race Relations Act 1976 was established to prevent race discrimination from happening, it made it unlawful in training, housing, education and employment. In 1979 the Convention on the Elimination if All Forms of Discrimination against Woman also known as the ‘bill of rights for woman’ (Anonymous, 2018) this was to work with discrimination against woman and to set out aims to protect woman’s rights. The Un convention against Torture and other Cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment it was dedicated to prevent the most serious human rights violations from happening this was in 1984. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was promised that all children worldwide will have the same rights and born with the same fundamental freedoms and they inherent the same rights as all human beings, this is with specific additional support as children are more vulnerable under the age of 18 this was brought to light in 1989. In 1995 Disability Discrimination Act was a significant development in the human rights legislation, it was to prevent discrimination against disabled people in employment, education and other departments or services. In 1998 was a massive development within the Human rights legislation the Human Rights Act although it didn’t come into force until 2000 it incorporated into domestic law and rights and liberties in the European Convention on Human Rights, British courts were taking complaints and cases rather than the European court. (Anonymous, 2018) 2010 seen the Equality Act come into forced, it brought together 116 separate pieces of legislation into one single act. It streamlined frameworks to protect individuals and ensure equality opportunity for everyone.

Sociology of The Family

In the past within a nuclear family the male was the head of the family, men held the power in the family and woman were very much excluded from it. The woman’s responsibility was for the responsibility of the children bringing them up attending to their needs were as the fathers was to be the bread winner and be looked after by the woman such as tea on table after work were the woman would also be responsible for the household chores. In the 1900 and 2000 and to contemporary society the roles in many households have changed through time, woman was given more chances of an education and employment which seen both woman and men going out to work, also the roles could change and see the father look after the children and share household chores. In modern day families there are many different types of families from lone parents either mother or father bringing children up, mixed families or step families and for families of who are wealthy may employee a nanny to help with the family and house chores.

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Parental separation also has an influence on the family structure, children cope and adjust to separation differently. In the past husband and wife stuck together and there was a lower divorce rate. In modern society there is a higher divorce rate this changes the family structure as children are then divided into 2 split families and in some cases, there becomes step families involved this can cause larger families. The attitude towards marriage from past times to now has changed, marriage used to be a necessary tradition where as marriage now is a choice and now people get married after having children or never marry but live together. Cohabiting couples are likely to break up or their relationships become unstable. Most households are still headed by married couples but there is a decline of marriage. Feminist would see the lower marriage as a tradition a good thing as traditional marriages is a patriarchal institution. Although radical feminist would point out that the increase in divorce is not beneficial to woman as 90% cases children go to live with the mother and single parent’s families suffer higher levels of poverty.

The development of the family can be influences by one’s personality, behaviour, beliefs and values. Family interactions within stress levels, personality and behaviour traits towards youngsters can structure the family. Young children imitate older children or adults. The culture that children grow up in can affect their happiness, morality, personality and their behaviour, by growing up and surrounding themselves with culture and its associated can have effects on the child’s beliefs and values.

Primary socialisation is a key role in shaping a child’s personality, it is supported by family and occurs in early childhood. It is crucial from the family to make the child aware of different cultures and social elements. Primary socialisation within families teach their children norms and values that they have been passed on by their primary socialisation and what they expect of their children’s pattern of behaviour. Primary socialisation pass on their values and beliefs about what they belief as important such as the value in religion and families background this can change drastically when a child goes into the secondary socialisation. The second socialisation begins in the early years and continues throughout the life of a person, mostly linked with peer groups, school and friends. When children reach that second socialisation these norms, values and beliefs can be manipulated by peers in school or further in life by a partner in relationship as they have a different value and beliefs. This can cause conflict within families. When children grow and get married this will change and shape as your norms and values will change as a unit within the married couple.

Culture can shape the family, is had a set of rules and traditions set to follow, they are expected by a group as feeling, behaviours and thoughts. Culture gets passed down generations and can include both non-physical factors which include beliefs and habits, it also includes physical factors such as art and arifacts. Culture is used in societies by distinguishing them from each other. Cultures have elements where language is one of those elements, it is a set of communications methods such as verbal and non-verbal that are unique to the group that have created them. The values of culture are essentially where they will tell people what bad and undesirable and what is good and desirable. The norms of culture behaviours and concepts are normally abstract and general. These norms are set out in standards or rules for behaviour and social interactions that are derived from the cultures value. As you are not born with culture, when you get married you will realise that for a successful marriage it is often based on how you and your partner merge your family cultures into your own family culture.

An ethical issue is when a system of morality and principles come into conflict, it can be disputed with facts and truths, it is more subjective and open to interpretation. An ethical faced today could be that more children are brought up with parents who abuse drugs or alcohol. It is important that children get the physical, emotional and mental support when attending nurseries and schools. This aids the development of children and it’s a safe place for them. Society has a responsibility to ensure the best standards of care to children and young people are met. A role of a teacher or early years officers is to engage with children and to help child reach their potential and encourage them to succeed and thrive on education with encouragement. A teacher or EYO must ensure we meet children’s needs, by doing this we need to follow legislation and procedures. Families with addiction problems don’t always seek support they may isolate themselves this is where the named person may come in and support the families. Within practice we ensure we keep children safe, healthy, that they are achieving, that they are nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included by ensuring these are meet children will have a safe place to openly play and explore. Children do not get the opportunity for play at home so may be rebellious when they have that bit freedom so there is that dilemma of ensuring the child and others are safe and that there is structure within the play.



  • Anon. (n.d.). Childhood – modern western conception of childhood. Retrieved from Family jrank: http://family.jrank.org/pages/232/Childhood-Modern-Western-Conception-Childhood.html
  • Anon. (n.d.). What we do – Education. Retrieved from UNICEF:   https://www.unicef.org.uk/what-we-do/education/
  • Anonymous. (2018, Oct). A history of Human Rights in Britain. Retrieved from Equality Human Rights: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/what-are-human-rights/history-human-rights-britain
  • Commissioner, C. a. (2018). Article 28. Retrieved from CYPCS: https://www.cypcs.org.uk/rights/uncrcarticles/article-28
  • SSSC. (2016). Code of practice for Social Service workers and Employers. Retrieved from SSSC UK:               http://www.sssc.uk.com/about-the-sssc/multimedia-              library/publications?task=document.viewdoc&id=239



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