A child or young person approach means recognising that each child or young person is an individual and that their thoughts, feelings and opinions are valued. The child or young person should be actively involved in meetings and discussions, and their wishes and views, although sometimes challenged, taken into consideration during key decision making. This enables them to develop their ability to discuss their views and feelings openly without feeling intimidated or undermined. Meetings and discussions should not cause distress and should be conducted in a way which promotes patience, support and a trustful relationship, especially where children and young people with communication and learning disabilities or mental health problems are concerned. In an educational environment outside agencies may be involved to ensure the individual needs of a child or young person are met. Depending on the needs of the individual, some children may require 1:1 support and an individual education plan (EIP) to help them achieve their goals and targets. Some children and young people may need special access equipment such as ramps and hoists, while others may need specialist equipment to aid their education and development.
All children and young people should be treated equally and have the same opportunities regardless of race, religion, culture, disability and social status, enabling them to access effective services which meet their individual needs. The effectiveness of the safeguarding system relies on the focus on the needs and views of the children or young people involved, and not placing the interests of adults ahead of the needs of children and young people. A child or young person centred approach is supported by the Children Act 1989 and 2004, the Equality Act 2010 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).