Tackling child neglect in Scotland 2: rapid review of intervention literature

A rapid review of the literature relating to programmes, approaches and interventions with children in Scotland who may be experiencing neglect, undertaken by academics at the University of Stirling.


1. On 25 February 2016 the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Angela Constance, made a statement to Parliament announcing a programme of action on child protection. Scottish Government committed to reviewing policy, practice, services and structures of the current child protection system to identify what works well and what could be improved. The focus of the Programme is on processes and systems which underpin child protection in Scotland and tackling child neglect was identified as a high priority.

2. As at 31 July 2015, 2,751 children were on the Child Protection Register: 39% had been the subject of emotional abuse and 37% had suffered from neglect. In addition, ‘lack of parental care’ is the most common reason for referral to the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration. A recent study by Dartington Social Research Unit (2016) reported that ‘At least 1 in 5 children at any one time are ‘in need’, meaning that they have needs that may impair their future health or development’ in Scotland’ (p.3) including parental attitudes permissive of antisocial behaviour and substance use, and poor family management. Part of Scottish Government’s response to tackling neglect is to undertake a pilot programme of neglect improvement work in three local authority areas. The pilot aims to promote learning from different areas to improve how education, health and children’s services work together to tackle neglect.


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