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Child protection research in Scotland

October 2013

A brief list of published research into the child protection system in Scotland.


A report into the deaths of looked after children in Scotland 2009-2011. (PDF)
Care Inspectorate
Dundee: Care Inspectorate, 2013
Report examining the deaths of 30 looked after children in Scotland between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2011. Identifies characteristics of the children and looks at the circumstances of their deaths. Comments on local authority reports. Identifies lessons to be learnt including: improvements in palliative and end of life care; more support for children who self harm; and improvements in communication between schools and agencies responsible for the care of looked after children.

'She endures with me': an evaluation of the Scottish guardianship service pilot. (PDF)
Crawley. H. and Kohli, R.K.S.
Stirling: Scottish Guardianship Service, 2013
Evaluation of the Scottish Guardianship Service, which helps unaccompanied children and young people to have their views heard, understand the asylum system, build social networks and ensure that decision makers have due regard to unaccompanied young people's welfare and safeguarding needs. Recommends this services model be replicated across the UK.

Education and Culture Committee: 3rd report, 2013 (session 4): interim report on inquiry into decision making on whether to take children into care. (PDF)
Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh: Scottish Parliament, 2013
Interim report from an inquiry into the decision-making processes involved in determining whether a child should be taken into care. Identifies and examines seven key issues that have emerged during the inquiry: the complexities of decision-making processes; early intervention and the preventative spending agenda; cost of child care and protection; balance between parents' and children's rights; resource and capacity issues in respect of placements; role of foster carers and kinship carers; and measuring outcomes for looked after children.

Education and Culture Committee: 10th report, 2013 (session 4): report on decision making on whether to take children into care. (PDF)
Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh: Scottish Parliament, 2013
Report exploring how decision-making processes involved in determining whether a child should be taken into care can be improved. Identifies four areas in which decision-making can be improved: early intervention, assessment, workforce training and retention, and listening to the views of those directly affected by decision-making processes. Considers how outcomes of decision-making processes can be measured under the following headings: improving knowledge about outcomes, outcomes for families and achieving permanence. Makes various recommendations for central government.

Children and young people's views on the child protection system in Scotland. (PDF)
Elsley, S., Tisdall, K.M. and Davidson, E.
Edinburgh: The Scottish Government, 2013
Reports on the views and experiences of children and young people on child protection systems in Scotland. Children reported positive feelings about their relationships with social workers and asked for more creative provision of information with more pictures and greater use of the internet.

Audit and analysis of initial and significant case reviews. (PDF)
Vincent, S. and Petch, A.
Edinburgh: The Scottish Government, 2012
Report analysing 43 initial case reviews (ICRs) and 56 significant case reviews (SCRs) conducted in Scotland between 2007 and 2011. Findings showed: a lack of consistency in how reviews were undertaken. Of the SCRs half of were about child deaths; criminal proceedings had been instigated in half; parental mental health was an issue in 43%; parental substance misuse was an issue in nearly two thirds domestic abuse featured in over half the cases. Presents 10 recommendations to improve the SCR process in Scotland.

The Kilbrandon Lectures: reflections on care and justice for children in Scotland. (PDF)
Edinburgh: Scottish Government, 2012
Brings together the first ten Kilbrandon Lectures. This lecture series was set up to commemorate the Kilbrandon report of 1964 which led to the establishment of the Children's Hearings System. Some lectures concentrated on the principles and practice of the Hearings system, whereas others explored related issues, including children's rights and family relationships.

Locked out of prevention?: the identity of child and family-oriented social work in Scottish post-devolution policy.
McGhee, J. and Waterhouse, L.
British Journal of Social Work 41(6), September 2011: 1088-1104
Explores the place of child and family social work in post-devolution Scotland. Analyses Scottish policy to trace the evolution of social work policy in general and in relation to children's services, considering where policy makers appear to locate social work resources. Argues that general social work and children's services policies, when taken together, may produce a policy 'effect' that appears to lock social work out of early intervention and prevention work.

Young people's views of the child protection system in Scotland.
Woolfson, R.C. et al
British Journal of Social Work 40(7), October 2010: 2069-2085
Features research conducted on a small group of children aged between twelve and seventeen years. The children interviewed were involved in the Child Protection Service in Scotland due to concerns over abuse. Concludes that young people are willing and able to share their views of the Child Protection Service. Some of the concerns raised by the young people confirm areas of dissatisfaction already highlighted in other studies. Revealed that the children want to be consulted as to whether or not they should be place on the Child Protection Register.

An examination of the factors that facilitate and hinder the care planning process for very young children in Scotland.
Davidson, L., and McKenzie, K.
Adoption and Fostering 34(1), Spring 2010: 33-40
Examines the care planning process for young children in Scotland aged 0-2 years. A qualitative approach was used to explore the views of social workers about current practice in relation to care planning. Social workers identified a number of factors which both facilitated and hindered the care planning process and in a number of cases the same factor was identified as doing both. The most commonly identified factor was waiting for an expert assessment. Participants identified a further number of factors which they felt could improve the process, including additional training. Results are discussed in the context of recent legislative changes in Scotland.

See more on the WithScotland website.


Contact the NSPCC's information service for more information on child protection research, child protection in Scotland or any child protection topic