How safe are our children?

For the past six years our annual How safe are our children? report has compiled and analysed data from across the UK to show the current child protection landscape.

This year, for the first time, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have taken on this task, with the first edition of its compendium of child abuse data sources for England and Wales due in winter 2019/20.

We have taken this opportunity to refocus our 2019 report on statistics relating to the issue of online abuse.

The Early Years Framework (Parts 1 & 2)

The Scottish Government’s Early Years Framework (2009) is aimed at giving Scotland’s children the best start in life and outlines the steps the Government, local partners and practitioners in early years services need to take to break negative cycles of inequality through early intervention. 

The Framework sets out 10 overlapping elements required to deliver a ‘radical improvement’ in outcomes:

  • A coherent approach.
  • Helping children, families and communities to secure outcomes for themselves.
  • Breaking cycles of poverty, inequality and poor outcomes in and through early years.
  • A focus on engagement and empowerment of children, families and communities.
  • Using the strength of universal services to deliver prevention and early intervention.
  • Putting quality at the heart of service delivery.
  • Services that meet the needs of children and families.
  • Improving outcomes and children’s quality of life through play.
  • Simplifying and streamlining delivery.
  • More effective collaboration.

In 2011, the Scottish Government published Early Years Framework: Progress So Far, providing an update on short-term progress two years on from publication of the original document.

Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014

The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 is designed to further the Scottish Government’s ambition for “Scotland to be the best place to grow up in by putting children and young people at the heart of planning and services and ensuring their rights are respected across the public sector”. The Act’s key provisions, and related guidance, are detailed below.

Key documents related to the Bill’s passage include:

The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act:

  • Places requirements on local authorities and health boards to prepare a three-year ‘children’s services plan’ for each local authority area, reporting on this each year. These should be in place from April 2017, covering the period up to 2020.
  • Establishes a ‘Child’s Plan’ for every child that is deemed to need one, to be prepared by the health board for pre-school children and the local authority for school-aged children.
  • Establishes a ‘Named Person’ for every child up to age 18, to be provided by the health board for pre-school children and the local authority for school-aged children.
  • Places a definition of ‘wellbeing’ on a statutory footing, referring to the SHANARRI indicators.

Building the Ambition National Practice Guidance on Early Learning and Childcare Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014

This national practice guidance sets the context for high quality Early Learning and Childcare as set out in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014. The guidance seeks to support practitioners in all settings and areas of Scotland who are delivering early learning and childcare.