The number of children in Scotland referred to children’s reporters on care and protection grounds has almost trebled since 1997, and rose by 9 per cent last year.
Douglas Bullock, chair of the Scottish Children’s Report Administration, which assesses the care and supervision of vulnerable children, said the “figures need concern us all” showing increased awareness of domestic violence and parental substance misuse had not been translated into appropriate early intervention and support.
Its annual report found more than 40,000 children were referred to reporters in 2005-6 on care and protection grounds, with almost 18,000 referred because of a lack of parental care. This was more than the total referred on offence grounds, which rose by less than 1 per cent last year.
The news came as figures released by the Scottish executive showed the country’s care population had hit its highest level since 1982.
On 31 March 2006, 12,750 children aged 17 and under were looked after by Scottish councils, a 5 per cent rise on the figure in 2005.
An additional 2,213 children were looked after on a series of short-term respite placements, an increase of 10 per cent from 2005. Of the total looked-after population 13 per cent were in residential accommodation, although this ranged from 6 per cent in Clackmannanshire to 31 per cent in Orkney.
However, there was better news on the educational performance of care leavers. Of those who left care during 2005-6, half had at least one qualification at Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework level 3 or above, up 8 per cent on 2004-5.
● Statistics from
● SCRA report