This report has provided significant new evidence about newborn babies and infants who become looked after away from home in Scotland via the Children's Hearings System and their families. It has also drawn important comparisons between Scotland, England and Wales in relation to the rates of infants who enter compulsory care, through the CHS or care proceedings.
The findings we have reported highlight the vulnerability of the families involved, and the significant difficulties they face, including experience of recurrent removal of children into care. Understanding their support needs is critical if interventions are to be appropriately timed, sensitive and responsive to need, and successful.
A core tenet of legislation and practice in Scotland is that in decision making about children the child's views are important. This report started by noting that the needs of infants and their 'voice' are generally articulated by adults, and that "particular effort must be made to understand and act upon quieter voices, including infants" (The Promise 2020, p32). In that context, it is important that policy and practice colleagues have a rich and differentiated picture of the characteristics, experiences and pathways of infants who become looked after early in their lives, and their families, in order to make the best, evidence-informed decisions. This report makes a significant contribution to that picture.
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