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Children's Summit planned

08/02/2010

A Children's Summit designed to further improve services for Scotland's children, including the most vulnerable is to be hosted by the Scottish Government later this spring.

Staff working in the NHS, social work and child protection, education, police, voluntary sector, will be among those invited to the event, as well as Scotland's Children's Commissioner and a range of other experts on children's issues.

Ministers will also meet groups of young people in the months prior to the June event, including representatives from the Scottish Youth Parliament, to hear their views and concerns so that these can be reflected in the summit's discussions.

Children's Minister Adam Ingram said:

"The early years of a child's life lay the grounds for their future. Indeed, improving the early years and the support available to children and families during that time is the key to addressing many of Scotland's deep-seated social problems like poverty and poor health, poor attainment at school and anti-social behaviour.

"The three social frameworks we have launched in partnership with Cosla and the NHS in the past year - The Early Years Framework, Equally Well, our health inequalities framework and Achieving our Potential, our anti-poverty framework - are helping us drive forward a range of work to tackle these problems and give children the chance in life that they need and deserve.

"Each is designed to provide better support for them and their families earlier on to prevent small problems developing into bigger ones which might require major and more costly crisis interventions, like removing a child from their family.

"We already know that improving services in this area does not simply mean spending more money and have already seen, through the Highland Getting it right for Every Child pathfinder report what can be achieved when agencies work in a more integrated way to help children and families. However, what we must now ensure is that despite the pressures on us all, that we continue to press forward to protect children's services as we learn and build on the good work taking place in many areas."

Current work underway by the Scottish Government to improve children's lives include:

  • Consultation in the spring on revised national child protection guidance
  • Changes to improve disclosure arrangements to further help ensure that people who have regular contact with children are not known abusers
  • Implementing new legislation for looked after children which will provide better help for kinship carers, with further work to drive the recruitment and retention of foster carers and help more children and young people into permanent homes, including through adoption
  • Introduction to Parliament shortly of the Children's Hearings (Scotland) Bill to create better outcomes for vulnerable children and young people by improving support for professionals and panel members and modernising the Children's Hearings System to create better consistency of approach across the country