Children,Young Peopleand SocialCare Directorate
Safer Children, Stronger Families Division
T:0131-2441705 F:0131-244 0978
E: Peter. Hope- Jones@scotland.gsLgov.uk
Mr Jimmy Deuchars
22 Alness Crescent
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Our ref: 2009/00387290R
22 December 2009
Dear Mr Deuchars
Thank you for your e-mail of 14 December to Beverley Hughes about your concerns about
child neglect. The e-mail was passed to the Scottish Government as this is a devolved
issue, and I have been asked to reply on behalf of Scottish Ministers.
Neglect is a very serious issue which can be every bit as damaging as other forms of abuse. National statistics show that child protection registrations for neglect have increased dramatically since 2001, while registrations for physical harm and sexual abuse have remained roughly consistent. Over this period, the percentage of registrations which were for physical neglect has increased from 31% to 45%.
A large part of the reason for this increase is that awareness of child protection issues generally, and of neglect in particular, is higher both amongst professionals and the public. This is reflected in the continually rising number of child protection referrals. It's also fair to say that professionals are now more ready to treat neglect as a serious child protection issue.
Tackling child neglect is a key priority for the Scottish Government, and we're doing this both by improving provision of child protection services, and by shifting the emphasis towards prevention and early intervention, to deal with issues before they become serious risks.
Our Early Years Framework and the development of Getting it Right for Every Child are the key drivers for this shift, and will help to prevent the chronic neglect which can be so damaging to children and families. You can find out more about them on the Scottish Government website:
http://www.scotland .gov. ukIT opics/PeoplelY oung-People/Early-years-framework
http://www.scotland .gov. ukIT opics/PeoplelY oung-People/child rensservices/g irfec
We're also working to ensure that child protection services across the country are as
effective as possible. We have a robust inter-agency child protection inspection regime, led by HM Inspectorate of Education. The first round of inspections is complete, with every local authority in Scotland visited. This has brought to light some areas with serious weaknesses, and urgent work is being undertaken to improve in these areas. The inspections have also highlighted some areas with excellent services, and where good practice has been identified, we need to ensure that this is built upon and shared with other areas.
We're also currently revising the national child protection procedures. This is being taken forward by a working group made up of leading child protection practitioners and representatives of key professional stakeholder groups from across the country, and includes specific workstreams looking at risk assessment, information sharing and procedures. Effective handling of cases of neglect will be an important part of this work. We intend to publish revised guidance for consultation in Spring 2010.
On the issue of the role of grandparents in providing kinship care and early identification of child protection concerns, I would refer you to previous correspondence. , I hope the above information is helpful, and gives an idea of the work that is underway to treat and prevent child neglect, and I wish you a happy Christmas.
Child Protection Policy Officer