The Scottish Government has released new draft child protection guidance to help social workers, police, NHS staff and other professionals improve the protection of children at risk of abuse or neglect.
The draft guidance was released today for public consultation which will close on Friday, 17 September.
Among the key proposed changes in the Scottish guidance are new measures ensuring that unborn babies who are given a child protection plan are placed on the child protection register. It also introduces, for the first time, national timescales for holding and following up child protection case conferences, proposing that the initial conference take place no later than 21 days from the notification of a concern and that participants receive the agreed child protection plan within five days of that conference.
The draft guidance expands the range of organisations responsible for child protection, including adult health care providers and third sector organisations. In addition, the professionals will no longer be required to identify a specific category of risk when placing a child on the register.
Scottish Children's Minister, Adam Ingram said: "The protection of children and keeping them happy, healthy, and safe from harm is a key priority for the Scottish Government. That's why we have introduced a range of changes from more robust, multi-agency inspections to the establishment of a national centre of expertise in children protection.
"Central to improving child protection further is ensuring that all organisations work more effectively together and have common understanding of the standard of service our children deserve. The new guidance sets out a national direction for how we expect children to be protected," Mr Ingram added.