Keeping Scotland's children and young people safe is at the heart of the Scottish Government's vision for the future. Ensuring children and young people are safe is the first step to enabling them to become the responsible citizens, successful learners, confident individuals and effective contributors that they deserve to be.
To achieve this we need to provide you, the healthcare professional, with the right resources to support your local practice. Your role is vital and we are committed to making sure that you have the necessary tools to enable you to undertake that role with confidence and vigour.
As part of that commitment, in 2010 we published National Guidance on Child Protection in Scotland which set out common standards for child protection services in Scotland. At that time we recognised the need to update the specific guidance available for health professionals to reflect the National Guidance. I am pleased that the commitment we made has resulted in this guidance to help with your role in child protection.
While child protection is clearly a collective responsibility, it is often a health professional who will have the first, and sometimes only, contact with a child or young person or their family. It is crucial that these early opportunities to protect the child or young person and support the family are not missed. Protecting children and young people, keeping them safe from harm is one of the most important responsibilities anyone can have but it is also one of the most demanding. I recognise this and this guidance is intended to help all staff who work in health services, regardless of whether their main contact is with a child, a young person or an adult.
Putting the needs of the child or young person at the centre of your practice is essential. The Getting it Right for Every Child programme provides a framework for professionals to do this and we are bringing forward legislation during this Parliament to put the planning and delivery of services provided to children and young people onto a statutory foundation.
We want Scotland to be best place in the world for children to grow up. I know that there is excellent work going on across Scotland to help realise this goal and I hope you find this guidance useful in helping you give children and young people one of the most important things they can have while growing up - the feeling of being safe.
Minister for Children and Young People
Email: Fiona McKinlay
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