Child Protection Guidance 2021

National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 Part 1: The context for child protection 8 Version 1.0 September 2021 Key Definitions and Concepts 1.1 This chapter aims to collate and summarise definitions and explanations of key terms applicable to child protection processes. Relevant legislative provisions provide full and accurate legal definitions. 1.2 In general terms, for the purposes of this Guidance, the protection of children and young people includes unborn babies, and children and young people under the age of 18 years. 1.3 It is important to note that for the purposes of the UNCRC, the rights apply to anyone under the age of 18. Article 1 states that this is the case unless majority is attained earlier under the law applicable to the child. Scottish Government intends to incorporate UNCRC within domestic law. 1.4 It is essential that Child Protection Committees and Adult Protection Committees work together to best protect children and young people at key transition points, for example, transition from children’s to adult services. 1.5 The independent legal status of a child commences at birth. In any action to safeguard and protect an unborn child, the needs and rights of the mother must be taken in to account. 1.6 The needs, rights, and mutual significance of siblings should be considered in any process that has a focus on a single child. ( connected-getting-right-sisters-brothers-national-practice-guidance/) Definitions of ‘child’ 1.7 While child protection procedures may be considered for a person up to the age of 18, the legal boundaries of childhood and adulthood are variously defined. There are overlaps. 1.8 In Part 1 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995, which deals with matters relating to parents, children and guardians, a child is generally defined as someone under the age of 18, but most of the provisions which deal with parental rights and responsibilities apply only to children under the age of 16. 1.9 Chapter 1 of Part 2 deals with support for children and families and includes local authorities’ duties in respect of looked after children and children ‘in need’. For these purposes a child is also defined as someone under the age of 18. 1.10 Section 67 of The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 i nserted a new section, 26A, into the Children (Scotland) Act 1995. The current law provides that a young person born on or after 1 April 1999 who is looked after in foster, kinship or residential care is generally eligible to remain in their current care placement, and be provided with accommodation and other assistance by the local authority, until they turn 21. This is called Continuing Care. 1.11 The Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011 c ontains provisions about the children’s hearings system and child protection orders. Section 199 states that, for the purposes of this Act, a child means a person under 16 years of age. However, section 199 of this Act provides qualifications as follows: • in the ground for referral to a hearing under section 67(2)(o) (failure to attend school), ‘child’ means a person who is of school age, and school age has the definition in section 31 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980