MSPs agree too many children left too long in unsuitable homes


Education and Culture Committee convener Stewart Maxwell said "too many children have been left for too long in unsuitable home environments" during a debate on 5 December 2013.

Mr Maxwell was leading a debate on the committee's report into decision making on whether to take children into care.

The SNP MSP welcomed the work being done to try and help disadvantaged children but added "the rate of improvement we are seeing is still to slow".

The committee convener said the inquiry had heard "harrowing stories" in evidence from children and young people in care and their voices were at the heart of the report.

He called on the Scottish government to "establish a shared vision of what success would look like for looked-after children".

The remit of the inquiry was to understand the decision-making processes involved in determining whether a child should be removed from the family home and taken into care and whether these decision-making processes are delivering the best outcomes for children and their families.

Several key issues considered were children left too long with parents who neglect or emotionally abuse them, state intervention in households with a prevalence of alcohol or drug misuse, homes with a record of domestic violence and the length of time it takes to re-home vulnerable children.

Other aspects of the report examined the costs of taking children into care, the rights of both the children and parents and the role of carers in the process.

Children and Young People Minister Aileen Campbell said it was important to place children at the heart of delivering services and to "value the voice of the child".

Ms Campbell said: "What I don't doubt is the passion and commitment of everyone in this chamber and across the relevant sectors to do our utmost to inculcate change and demand improvement.

"This is too important to get wrong and we cannot be content with mediocrity".

To view part two of this debate please click Children into care debate 2.

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