The decisions made about when or if a child should be removed from the family home are to be examined by the Scottish Parliament's Education and Culture Committee.

The fact that many looked after children, particularly those looked after at home, are falling behind in the education system, became clear in a recent inquiry undertaken by the committee.

In response to this, the committee will examine whether the decisions surrounding some of Scotland's most vulnerable children are being made with the best possible interest in their future.

In the previous inquiry, the committee found that while 56 per cent of school leavers gained five or more qualifications, only 4.7 per cent of children looked after away from home and 0.5 per cent of children looked after at home achieved the same results.

Launching the new inquiry during a visit to the Barnardo's Scotland Fostering Service, Committee Convener Stewart Maxwell MSP said: "This inquiry is not about rushing to make judgements about the systems currently in place. It is about asking the difficult questions to make sure that these systems really are working for children and their families."

The committee hopes to examine the processes involved in deciding whether to remove a child from the family home and consider whether these are consistent across the country, with the help of those who have first-hand experience of Scotland's care system.

The questions will also explore any parental risk factors, such as drugs or alcohol misuse, as well as whether resource constraints have any effect on the decisions being made.

Stewart Maxwell continued: "Only by doing this can we really be sure that we are making the best decisions for children who may be abused or neglected."

Posted 28/06/2012 by Matilda Blackwell