Child welfare and protection
Basic principles and legal frameworks
Children arriving from Ukraine have the same rights as any other child in Scotland, and professional responsibilities in relation to child welfare and protection remain unchanged. The Getting It Right for Every Children (GIRFEC) approach and associated local processes are already well embedded and should be applied to support children arriving from Ukraine. Assessing welfare and risk is not static and the interaction of factors can shift and become more or less severe. This is likely to be amplified by the significant trauma the children and their caregivers may have endured. The process of identifying and managing risk must therefore also be dynamic and responsive.
We have provided assurances to Ukrainian officials that minimal legal intervention in the lives of children will be upheld where it is safe to do so. Assurances have been provided, that accommodation given to children and their families, is done based on safety and need, and that arrangements are temporary, with reunification and return to Ukraine as the long term goal, when it is safe to do so.
The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (“the 1995 Act”), Section 22 places a legal duty on local authorities to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in their area in need by providing a range and level of services appropriate to the children’s needs.
It is highly likely that usual background checks will not be possible for this group of children, and assessments will be primarily reliant on the professional judgement across the multi-agency team. It may also be the case that further assessment of need is required for a child or for an adult. The GIRFEC national practice model should be applied when assessing the needs of children. Such referrals should be made to the local social work department immediately.
Supervision of children
It is a parent or legal guardian’s responsibility to keep their children safe. This includes at home, outside, in a car and on the internet. Parents should not leave their children unsupervised while they are working, at the shops, or otherwise occupied. Parents should not leave a child on their own if they'll be at risk, as they may be subject to a fine or sent to prison if they put your child at risk by leaving them alone. For further information see: Gov.Scot – Keeping children safe
While this is true for people living in all types of accommodation (hosted, private, temporary),_this is particularly important while families are in welcome accommodation, where the communal areas and rooms are accessible to others. Should there be any situations where local authorities are alerted to children being left unsupervised, the child’s parents should be contacted and asked to return – they should be made aware of expectations and requirements for childcare, and should have options (such as local childcare provisions) signposted to them.
Within the welcome accommodation Code of Conduct, it is stated that people should not leave any child which they have responsibility for unaccompanied in welcome accommodation.
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