Scots’ chiefs voice concerns on reforms

Scotland’s social work directors say proposed youth justice reforms
will raise the number of children in secure accommodation and
divert resources from prevention.

The Scottish executive unveiled plans last month to prosecute chief
social work officers and directors who fail to fully implement the
decisions of children’s panels. The proposals are part of its wider
reforms of the children’s hearings system.

But the Association of Directors of Social Work says an increasing
number of children are being referred to fewer secure accommodation
places. This has resulted in long waits for places and secure
accommodation providers “cherry picking” who to take.

The ADSW also says the proposals undermine the ability of social
workers to judge what support individual children needed.

Sandra Paterson, head of service for children, families and
criminal justice at North Ayrshire Council, said the move would
disempower directors because sometimes they did not agree with a
panel’s decision to send children to a secure setting.

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