New child protection guidance issued in Scotland

Scotland’s child protection register will no longer identify children under a specific category of abuse, it was announced today.

Children’s minister Adam Ingrams has issued updated child protection guidance which now includes advice on how and when to share information, an expanded range of professionals responsible for child protection – including adult services – and a 21-day timescale to hold a child protection case conference.

The guidance has also ended the need for professionals to identify a category of registration when placing a child on the protection register. This reform aims to encourage a greater recognition of any wider risks or needs involved. Unborn babies can also be placed on the register to ensure information can be shared if the mother moves house before she gives birth.

Ruth Stark, Scotland’s professional officer for the British Association of Social Workers, said the new guidance had been widely consulted on and she was pleased with the final result.

“We think 21 days is a reasonable timescale because we have very rural areas here and it takes a lot longer to get everyone together than it does in a town or city.”

Adam Ingrams, children’s minister, said that the new guidance was the first result to come out of a national review of child protection. “We will also be bringing in a range of further initiatives, the details of which will be announced in the New Year. This will begin with the creation of a working group to refresh the detailed existing guidance for those working with children and families affected by parental substance misuse, to bring this in line with the general guidance published today.”

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