Today (Thursday 2 March 2017), the Scottish Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Mark McDonald gave a statement to Parliament in response to recommendations made within the Child Protection Systems Review Report.
The report, which was commissioned by the Scottish Government and supported by CELCIS (the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland) at the University of Strathclyde, was delivered by the Child Protection Review Group, involving a wide range of professionals with child protection expertise at a national and local level. The Review is part of the wider Child Protection Improvement Programme, and has been independently chaired by Catherine Dyer CBE.
The Review Group were tasked with looking at the child protection system, to review what was working well and to recommend what changes or improvements might be needed in order to protect children and young people more effectively.
The Review identified three themes: Leadership, Governance and Accountability; Developing a Learning Culture and Shared Values; and identified twelve recommendations within the report including: the care inspectorate should become the central repository for all Initial and Significant Case Reviews; establishing a National Child Protection Leadership Group; and the formation of a National Child Protection Register.
As a result of the report, the Government has committed to introducing new legislation to criminalise emotional abuse and neglect of children.
Speaking in Parliament, Minister Mark McDonald, said: “This government is determined to ensure more of Scotland’s children get the best possible start in life. This means protecting the most vulnerable in our communities from harm, abuse and neglect.
“Catherine Dyer’s review concludes that, in general, our child protection system works well. However, both she and the Child Protection Improvement Programme Report have identified opportunities to strengthen all aspects of the system to better protect our children. I have accepted all of these recommendations in full and set out how they will be implemented swiftly and effectively.”
Claire Burns, Director of Programmes and Services at CELCIS, commented: “We all have a shared aspiration across this country to make Scotland one of the best and safest places for children and young people to grow up. For children, safety and protection from harm and abuse are a right. Keeping children safe is therefore a fundamental duty that we all have.
Today’s announcement by Mark McDonald is reassuring and is a significant step in making meaningful and lasting improvements to Scotland’s child protection services. This focus on safety and protection is vital and the Independent Review of Care provides momentum to this, while creating additional opportunities to explore how we support young people’s sense of belonging and stability. To make the necessary changes required, we need a commitment to implementing the recommendations.”
For the Scottish Government news release on the new law to protect children, see: law-to-protect-children.