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Child protection guidance launched in Scotland

Scottish children’s minister Adam Ingram has launched draft child protection guidance which covers areas including online safety and child trafficking.

It is aimed at social workers, police, NHS staff and other professionals working to protect children from neglect and abuse, and will replace guidance last updated in 1998 and covers issues which have become more prominent in recent years.

“Central to improving child protection further is ensuring that all organisations work more effectively together and have common understanding of the standard of service our children deserve. The new guidance sets out a national direction for how we expect children to be protected,” said Ingram.

The guidance includes more detailed advice on information sharing and expands the range of organisations responsible for child protection to include adult health care providers and the third sector.

It also sets out plans for initial child protection case conferences to take place as soon as possible and no more than 21 days after the initial concern was raised. Participants in the case conference should receive the agreed child protection plan within five days of the conference.

Where professionals identify the need for an unborn baby to have a child protection plan, the child should be placed on the child protection register under the new proposals. This is to ensure that if the mother moves house or areas prior to the child’s birth, local authority areas can still share the information about the child.

Under the proposals, professionals will no longer have to enter a specific category of registration such as physical neglect or sexual abuse when placing a child on the child protection register to encourage a move towards a focus on all the needs and risks to an individual child.

BASW professional officer Ruth Stark said: “It is a really good piece of work, very comprehensive, very clear and we welcome it.”

“The thing I liked is that it was presented for everyone, not just social workers. It was targeted at health, police, NHS and others too and I like the fact it has a multi-disciplinary target audience,” she added.

The consultation will close on Friday 17th September.

For more on the consultation:- http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2010/05/27095252/0