More children in Scotland were subject to compulsory intervention last year despite a fall in the number referred to the country’s children’s reporter.
The Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration’s (SCRA) annual report revealed a record number of children’s hearings following an investigation and referral from the children’s reporter, resulting in 13,523 children (up 304) requiring supervision such as being placed in residential care or with foster parents, while child protection orders rose 30% to 661.
The report reveals 47,178 children were referred in 2008-9 to the children’s reporter, either on offence grounds or concerns about their welfare, compared with 50,314 in 2007-8.
There was a fall of 19% in those referred on offence grounds, to 11,805, while referrals related to care and protection fell 2.7% to 39,105.
Netta Maciver, SCRA chief executive and principal reporter, attributed the fall in referrals to more clarity among partner agencies of SCRA’s role, which led to more children being offered voluntary interventions.
“While this may show that the system is working more effectively to identify those children who do require compulsory measures, it remains a concern that such large numbers of our children and young people require this intervention,” said Maciver.
Martin Crewe, director of Barnardo’s Scotland, said: “Barnardo’s has been arguing for some time that we need to review the balance between the different options within the care system and focus more upon early intervention.”
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