Referrals in Scotland at highest ever level

The number of young people in Scotland referred to the Scottish
hearing system has risen to the highest level since records began.

Almost 40,000 youngsters were referred to the system in 2001-2,
according to the annual report from the Scottish Children’s
Reporter Administration (SCRA). This is a rise of 10 per cent on
the previous year and the highest number since the system was
established in 1971.

The report, published this week, shows a sharp rise in the number
of cases including neglect, domestic violence and parental drug

SCRA principal reporter Alan Miller said: “It is a really bleak
picture, particularly for communities blighted by extensive drug
misuse and for children caught in the middle of abusive marital
relationships or disintegrating families.”

The report also expresses concern over the length of time taken to
deal with neglect cases, currently an average of 168 days.

SCRA says the situation is exacerbated by the chronic national
shortage of qualified social work staff.

Once children are referred to the system, reporters decide whether
compulsory measures of care are needed. If they are, children are
referred to hearings held by local children’s panels that decide
what further action should be taken.

– Annual report from 01786 459500

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