The systems designed to help Scotland’s most vulnerable children need to work better together, according to a report issued by the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee.

In an unusual step, the report has been published part of the way through the Committee’s inquiry into decision making on whether to take children into care. The Committee have done so with the aim of stimulating action on a range of issues on which it has received evidence while the Committee continues with the next stage of its inquiry.

Committee Convener Stewart Maxwell MSP said: “This inquiry has at its heart the protection of some of the most vulnerable members of our society. We have already heard from a number of people right at the heart of the systems intended to protect them. This evidence has been deeply personal and often distressing.

“There are many systems to support vulnerable children but these systems can often present a confusing picture to the very people they are trying to protect. We have decided to publish this report part of the way through our inquiry to ask the Scottish Government to inform us of the actions being taken to address these problems. Children’s lives can be complex but there must be more coherence between the systems intended to protect them.”

The report also makes it clear that lack of resources should never prevent children being taken into care and invites Audit Scotland to consider examining the resource and capacity issues for all types of placements of looked after children.

The Committee report also invites the Scottish Government to:
• Examine how preventative measures are being used to break the inter-generational cycle of children being looked after and having poor outcomes.
• Looks at what specific action has been taken to ensure the provision of greater social work support for looked after children at home.
• Confirm whether it considers the balance between the rights of the child and the rights of the parents in the Childrens’ Hearings system is correct.

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Posted 28/03/2013 by