National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland: Guidance for Health Professionals in Scotland

This guidance is intended to act as a practical reference point for all healthcare staff working within an adult and child service context.

It highlights the specific roles and responsibilities of specialist staff working in particular settings wherever children and young people will usually be seen.

It sets out the framework to aid practitioners in their role in dealing with child protection concerns.


Introduction and Purpose of Guidance

Professionalism, Commitment, Courage

This guidance is supplementary to, and should be read in conjunction with, the Scottish Government National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2010 "the National Guidance".1 The National Guidance outlines key definitions and concepts, specifically a definition of what constitutes child abuse and neglect and harm/significant harm (Appendix 1). In addition, there is a series of appendices which are important and explore in more detail specific child protection scenarios.

This guidance:

  • Is intended to act as a practical reference point for all healthcare staff working within an adult and child service context.
  • Includes children and young people up to the age of 18. Further information on the relevant legislation relating to the definition of a child, particularly for those aged between 16-18 is outlined in Appendix 1.
  • Highlights the specific roles and responsibilities of specialist staff working in particular settings wherever children and young people will usually be seen.
  • Sets out the framework to aid practitioners in their role in dealing with child protection concerns.

Articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child are ratified by the UK Government and endorsed by the Scottish Government. They should underpin all code and practice in child protection. In addition to the Convention, the Children's Charter was drawn up following consultation with children and young people as part of the Scottish Government's child protection reform programme. The Framework for Standards2 is the detailed means for translating the commitments made in the Children's Charter into practice. Further information is available at the "Principles and Standards for Child Protection" section contained in Part 1 of the National Guidance.

All children and young people have a right to be protected. As health is a universal provider for children and young people and their families' and many will only ever access universal services' it is important for all healthcare staff to understand their responsibilities when treating and managing children and young people or their parents and carers.

Young people aged between 16 and 18 are potentially vulnerable to falling "between the gaps" and local services must ensure that processes are in place to enable staff to offer ongoing support and protection as needed, via continuous single planning for the young person.

Getting it right for every child3 is a consistent way for people to work with all children and young people to improve their wellbeing. The GIRFEC approach helps practitioners focus on what makes a positive difference for children and young people - and how they can act to deliver these improvements. GIRFEC is being threaded through all existing policy, practice, strategy and legislation affecting children, young people and their families. Its primary components include:

  • A common approach to gaining consent and sharing information where appropriate.
  • An integral role for children, young people and families in assessment, planning and intervention.
  • A co-ordinated and unified approach to identifying concerns, assessing needs, agreeing actions and outcomes, based on the Wellbeing Indicators.
  • A Named Person in universal services.
  • A Lead Professional to co-ordinate and monitor a Child's Plan for children with more complex needs that cannot be addresses by the Named Person alone.
  • A skilled workforce within universal services that can address needs and risks at the earliest possible point.

The Getting it Right Practice Model and "My World" triangle are detailed at Appendix 2.

Contact

Email: Fiona McKinlay

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