Coronavirus (COVID-19): Children and Families Collective Leadership Group minutes - 22 March 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group, held on 22 March 2022. A briefing session on Ukraine refugee work.

Attendees and apologies

  • Des Murray (Co-Chair), SOLACE      
  • Carrie Lindsay (CSPP SLN Co-Chair), CSP Strategic Leads Network     
  • Chris Lumb, Care Inspectorate   
  • Claire Burns, CELCIS       
  • Jennifer Davidson, Inspiring Children’s Futures                   
  • Alan Small, Child Protection Committees Scotland   
  • Elliot Jackson, Children’s Hearings Scotland     
  • Judith Turbyne, Children In Scotland         
  • Laura Caven, COSLA        
  • Laura-Ann Currie, Education Scotland
  • Fiona McFarlane, The Promise
  • Debby Wason, Public Health Scotland      
  • Sam Faulds, Police Scotland      
  • Helen Etchells, SCRA
  • Lynne McNiven, Directors of Public Health  
  • Claire McGuire, NHS NES   
  • Karen Wilson, NHS NES   
  • Alison Gordon, Social Work Scotland        
  • Laura Lamb, Scottish Social Services Council  
  • Sally-Ann Kelly (Aberlour), CCPS
  • Martin Crewe (Barnardo’s), CCPS
  • Janet Haugh (Ypeople), CCPS
  • Katy Martin (Quarriers), CCPS
  • Michael Chalmers (Co-Chair), Scottish Government        
  • Iona Colvin, Scottish Government   
  • Donald Henderson, Scottish Government   
  • Jenny Hamilton, Scottish Government   

Items and actions


Michael welcomed members to the special briefing session. Important to keep members updated in light of last few weeks and anticipated humanitarian needs.

Update from Donald Henderson on Scottish Government work

Actively involved in Dnipro Kids and providing care until they are able to return home. The best interests of those children needs to be at the forefront at all times.

Within Scotland there are three different schemes: Family Scheme; UKG Homes for Ukraine; Scotland’s Super Sponsor Scheme.

Triage facilities are being set up in Edinburgh/Glasgow airports and D&G (Cairnryan); also possibility of people moving over land (response at Glasgow Central/Waverley train stations).

Mindful of unaccompanied children and young people with unknown kinship-type relationships.

Flexibilities in place for COVID-19 are being revisited to assist with resource shortages.

Considering wider regulatory changes which may be needed.

Update from Iona Colvin 

General thanks to Edinburgh and Stirling Councils and Police Scotland for work around Dnipro Kids.

Safeguarding concerns around vulnerable children and vulnerable adults. Aiming to provide guidance around this soon. Liaising with the Home Office about the status of young people.

Clear that we are providing temporary care for children and young people as long as that is required. This is not about adoption. Working with guardians to support them look after the children in their care. Important to maintain links with families, either in Scotland, Ukraine or elsewhere.

Looking at how we can support Hub areas (thanks to D&G, and to Aberlour).

Health colleagues have been involved and Edin/Stirling/D&G are engaging with health services to provide assessments etc.

Draft for guidance for Homes for Ukraine scheme – hopefully be issued by end of week – need guidance for/from COSLA etc. on LA responsibilities

Helpful to get steer from partners about their capacity to support. Conversations taking place with SSSC, but difficult to gauge given uncertain numbers of potential arrivals. 

Points raised by attendees/response

Issue about entitlement to support as not considering children as looked after. There has been discussion about looked after status and proposal to use section 22 authorisations unless there is a reason not to.

Discussions have taken place with Irish counterparts to inform the safeguarding process.

Important to learn from previous responses. Local approach will be clearer when we know how many people might be coming to Scotland and to which areas. It is not clear how many families have come through family reunification approach. How do we get information out to the families and have a degree of visibility if we don’t know they are there?

Data system being set up which will filter through to local authorities, but unsure if this will cover people in the family scheme. Potential for a national helpline which would filter through to local authority hubs, for people from all routes to signpost.

Concerns raised about opportunities for exploitation and question about providing information and support to children and young people themselves as well as frontline workers.

Further information on the governance structures being set up within SG and with partners would be helpful.

Whilst numbers are unclear, could information packs be made available for all refugees with signposting information? It was noted that the Red Cross have information packs in the arrival Hubs.

Offer of support from CCPS re third sector groups with staff with relevant experience (including social workers) to work alongside local authority support.

What can we learn now from past experience with e.g Syrian refugees (Syrians etc.) and responding to COVID-19? It would be useful for us to be actively documenting our processing now so we can build our resilience for future emergencies. Suggestion for Jennifer Davidson and Claire Burns to discuss and coordinate what would be most valuable at this point in terms of drawing together relevant learning.

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