Baby P case triggers Scottish government child protection review

The Scottish government yesterday announced a review of child protection guidance in the wake of the Baby P case.

The review of the 1998 guidance, Protecting children: a shared responsibility, will begin in the New Year and be led by a working group including representatives from child protection committees, social work, health and the police.

Children’s minister Andy Ingram said the Baby P case in Haringey, north London, “reminds us why we must continue to ensure quick and effective support is put in place for all vulnerable children” and that agencies work together.

Timing right

He said the timing was right for a review as a three-year cycle of inspections of the 30 child protection committees – multi-agency partnerships which oversee child protection in each local authority area – was due to conclude in March 2009.

Ingram said this would provide “the most comprehensive picture ever of how services are performing on the ground”.

However, following the announcement, Children 1st’s director of children and family services, Maggie Mellon warned that a review of “systems and processes” would not be enough to make children safer.

Significant expansion

She added: “The last few years has seen a significant expansion in the numbers of children who are dealt with through child protection investigations rather than supported and helped as children and families in need.” She warned this risked making it harder to identify those children at most risk.

Latest statistics show that the annual number of child protection referrals has risen by over a third from 2005-8, while annual registrations rose sharply, by 37%, from 2005-7 before falling by 11% from 2007-8.

Mellon added: “We would argue for both a stronger emphasis on prevention and support services, and at the same time a refocusing of skilled and well-trained child protection resources on thsoe children who are at most risk of real harm.”

More information

Children 1st

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