Child Protection Improvement Programme
Child Protection Improvement Programme – Update #8
Work continues on delivering the recommendations which emerged from the first Phase of the Child Protection Improvement Programme (CPIP).
Implementing the Children’s aspects of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015
A meeting of the Child Trafficking Strategy Group took place on 24 January to discuss plans and progress on the children’s actions in the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy and the Child Protection Improvement Programme. A further meeting of the group will take place on 18 April.
Research has now been commissioned on child trafficking in Scotland. This will look to identify the presence of children and young people who have been trafficked and establish their routes to arrival in Scotland. The contract for this research has been awarded to The Centre of Child Wellbeing and Protection and the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice.
On 22 March, The Scottish Government published revised age assessment good practice guidance for social workers, their managers and others involved in undertaking age assessments in Scotland. The guidance was updated to better reflect the presumption of age in Section 12 of the Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015.
Additions to the guidance include a specific appendix on undertaking a trauma informed approach to assessment, revised case law and the inclusion of text boxes which highlight feedback from young people as to what is and isn’t helpful in the age assessment process.
Child Sexual Exploitation
The implementation of actions from the Update of the National Action Plan to Prevent and Tackle Child Sexual Exploitation (2016) continue to be overseen by the National Child Sexual Exploitation Group. The latest quarterly meeting of the group was held on 12 February 2018 and items discussed included the drafting of the annual progress report, due to be published in March.
A presentation was given by Barnardo’s Scotland on their recent survey exploring the views and experiences of practitioners use of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) screening tools. The group also received an update on the work being undertaken by Stop it Now!
An information sharing session, attended by the Minister for Childcare and Early Years, was held on 24 January for both the members of the Child Trafficking Strategy Group and National CSE Group, to provide an update on a number of areas of common interest to both groups.
Child Internet Safety
Work is continuing to implement actions within the National Action Plan on Internet Safety for Children and Young People and the Scottish Government is planning to set up a short life working group to help drive progress and ensure collective ownership of the Action Plan. More information on this group will be available online shortly.
Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill
The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act was approved by the Scottish Parliament at stage 3 on 1 February 2018. More information about the development of the Bill, and lots of accompanying information is available on the Scottish Parliament website at http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/Bills/103883.aspx and the Scottish Government web pages at https://beta.gov.scot/publications/domestic-abuse-scotland-bill-stage-3-debate/.
The Bill was originally introduced to Parliament by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson MSP, on 17 March 2017. During Stage 2 of the Bill, the scope of the statutory aggravator concerning children was extended. It now reflects the harm caused to children growing up in an environment where their parent/carer is being abused, regardless of whether the perpetrator involves the child in the abuse, or the child happens to see or hear the abuse.
The Children and Young People (Information Sharing) (Scotland) Bill
After consideration of the evidence submitted to the Education and Skills Committee, the Convener of the Committee wrote to the Deputy First Minister on 29 November 2017 indicating that a majority of the Committee were minded to request parliamentary bureau to extend the Stage 1 deadline until an authoritative draft Code of Practice had been drafted to enable them to scrutinise the Bill effectively. The Deputy First Minister urged the Committee to reconsider its position, highlighting the delay this approach would cause to implementation of the Named Person Service. The Deputy First Minister explained that an authoritative draft Code of Practice would not therefore be available until September 2018 at the earliest.
In the meantime, the Government has committed to proceeding with developing the Code of Practice with the Getting It Right For Every Child Practice Development Panel, independently chaired by Ian Welsh OBE, Chief Executive of the Health and Social Care Alliance, and continuing to take forward Named Person Service to ensure children and families get the support they require. The Panel membership has been completed and the first meeting concluded.
Stage 1 of the Information Sharing Bill is paused due to Parliamentary decision. The Getting It Right For Every Child has been established and work is underway to develop a draft Code of Practice to enable the Education and Skills Committee to resume Stage 1 of the Bill in September 18.
Ongoing work consists of supporting the Getting It Right For Every Child Practice Development Panel with the development of a draft Code of Practice.
Unaccompanied Children in Scotland
Unaccompanied asylum seeking and possibly trafficked children are deemed looked after children in Scotland and as such are eligible for all measures of protection and assistance to aid their safeguarding and recovery. The Scottish Government will publish a consultation on section 11 of the Act which seeks to understand the role, responsibilities and functions of the independent child trafficking guardian. This consultation will be published in 2018.
Scottish Social Services Awards 380
The shortlist for the 2018 Scottish Social Services Awards is now available. The Awards attracted over 100 applications nationwide representing a diverse mix of social services that have made a positive difference to people’s lives. Introduced last year, the Awards cut across boundaries and celebrate excellence, innovation and joined-up thinking. They also bring one of the country’s largest sectors, with almost 200,000 workers, together. The Awards will be presented by the Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Maree Todd MSP, and Young Scot winner, Chelsea Cameron, at the Mansfield Traquair Centre, Edinburgh on 6 June 2018.