Care and permanence planning for looked after children in Scotland
Gillian Henderson and Malcolm Schaffer from the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration (SCRA) talk about recent research into the care and permanence planning for looked after children in Scotland. Working to fill a gap in evidence and to inform changes in policy and law through the Scottish Government's Looked After Children Strategic Implementation Group, the SCRA research team analysed the content of both SCRA and court records to map decision-making, placements and time taken to permanence for 100 children.
Care planning processes were found to be the main reason for delay in decision-making, rather than court processes as anecdotal accounts suggest. Significant periods of time passed for children from the point that they were first involved with services to when an Adoption Order or a Parental Responsibility Order was made: among the 100 cases reviewed the shortest period was 12 and a half months and the longest 10 years and 10 months. Over the course of that time, children experienced many moves and many placements.
As a result of the findings, the researchers recommend a need for improving: the quality and timeliness of decisions on permanency and their implementation in the care system; decision making in SCRA and Children's Hearings; communication mechanisms between local authorities, SCRA and the courts; and on the operation of curators ad litem and Reporting officers in the court process. Improving knowledge of attachment and its significance to child development is highlighted as critical to informing decisions about the timing and timeliness of achieving permanence for children.
More information on this research
- SCRA (2011) Care and permanence planning for looked after children in Scotland
- SCRA (2011) Care and permanence - children assessed as at risk at or before birth
The Scottish Government has made a significant commitment to a policy and planning framework, which aspires to ensure that children who become looked after and accommodated are secured in permanent placements with the minimum of delay:
- Read the Scottish Government response to the care and permanence planning report prepared by the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration
- Find out more about how the Looked After Children's Strategic Implementation Group has embarked on a programme of work to support policy makers and practitioners in all disciplines
- The Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS) focuses on the sharing of knowledge and the development of best practice, and will provide a wide range of services to improve the skills of those working with looked after children: http://www.celcis.org/.
A transcription of this recording is attached in Word format.
This Work, Care and permanence planning for looked after children in Scotland, by IRISS is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 UK: Scotland license.