Scottish child protection review announced

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A full review of Scotland's child protection system has been commissioned by the Scottish government.

The review will aim to ensure Scotland has the strongest possible system in place to protect children from harm.

It will look at legislation covering children at risk of neglect or abuse to see if it needs strengthened.

The review will make its recommendations by the end of 2016, Education Secretary Angela Constance told MSPs.

Ms Constance said the review would focus on four key areas:

  • Child protection committees
  • Initial case reviews
  • Significant case reviews
  • The child protection register

She said this would be backed by increased scrutiny through a revised inspection programme, a review of child protection legislation, and action to address the impact of neglect on children.

Ms Constance also announced funding for the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland.

And she confirmed timescales for the new level 9 qualification for residential child care workers, which will come into effect for managers, supervisors and new starts from October 2017 and for the rest of the workforce from October 2019.

'Able to act'

Ms Constance said: "We have much to be proud of in the way we care for our children, but I want to make sure the systems to protect them when they are at risk are as robust as possible and able to act when harm has taken place.

"We already have child protection committees in every local authority area, we have modernised the children's hearings system and we have invested in professional development for all those working with vulnerable children and families.

"But we want to do more - that's why I am now announcing a review of the elements that make up the child protection system. We will also look at legislation covering children at risk of neglect or abuse to see if it needs strengthened and will bring in more focused inspections and robust scrutiny."

The announcement follows recommendations made in the Care Inspectorate's Triennial Review and a report by Jackie Brock from Children In Scotland.