People arriving from Ukraine - risk and need: public protection guidance

Guidance for all practitioners involved in safeguarding of children and adults who are arriving in Scotland from Ukraine to identify and respond to risk and need.

Child welfare and protection

Basic principles and legal frameworks

Children and young people arriving from Ukraine must usually be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.  

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 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 care givers have endured. The process of identifying and managing risk must therefore also be dynamic and responsive.

Regardless of the route and circumstances of the arrival of children from Ukraine in Scotland our approach and emphasis is on supporting their family links. The Scottish Government is committed to supporting the links that children from Ukraine have, with the people they identify as their important relationships – including their immediate and extended families – and their birth country of Ukraine.

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 so based on safety, need and are temporary arrangements.

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 children and young people displaced from Ukraine.  Assessments will be primarily reliant on the professional judgement across the multi-agency team. It is therefore essential that experience and skill is applied when assessing children from Ukraine’s welfare needs and possible risk of harm. 

Children and young people may arrive in Scotland through any of the arrival pathways when travelling with their parent or legal guardian. An extension to the Homes for Ukraine scheme now allows some children and young people to travel from Ukraine without their parent or legal guardian, set out in unaccompanied children and young people Homes for Ukraine scheme.  




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