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The Care Inspectorate has today published a major report into how well Scotland’s children are protected from risk.
A three-year initiative evaluated how well services in each of the 32 council areas are protecting vulnerable and at-risk children from abuse, neglect or exploitation.
Senior inspectors from the Care Inspectorate, which is an independent scrutiny and improvement body for care and children’s services in Scotland, carried out joint reviews with colleagues from education and police authorities, assessing a variety of topics related to keeping youngsters safe.
They praised a number of improvements and found that leadership and co-operation to protect children is strong and that staff are confident about raising concerns. However, they found there was too little contact from social workers with children who just missed the threshold for being on the child protection register.
In the report, inspectors recommend quicker intervention when parents cannot meet their child’s needs. They also call for services to ask more challenging questions about their own performance.
This morning the paper was presented to Aileen Campbell, minister for children and young people, at North Inch Community Campus in Perth. She said: “The safety and wellbeing of Scotland’s children is a key priority for the Scottish Government. All children have a right to be cared for and protected from harm, and to grow up in a safe environment in which their rights and needs are respected.
“I want Scotland to be the best place in the world for children to grow up and I am pleased to see from this report on the second round of joint inspections that significant progress has been made in child protection.
“However, we cannot be complacent, we all have a role to play in keeping children safe and progress must continue to be made on this important matter.”
Care Inspectorate chief executive Annette Bruton said: “Child protection is a difficult and sensitive area but it is everybody’s business to make sure that our children are safe.
“Abuse, neglect and exploitation often happen in secret, so people need to know that different professionals are all working together to spot signs and minimise risk.
“No system alone can guarantee that tragedy will never strike, or exploitation will never occur, but there is encouraging news from our report. While there is room for improvement in some areas, it is clear that leadership across different agencies is stronger now than when we last carried out this work four years ago.”