National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 Part 1: The context for child protection 15 Version 1.0 September 2021 • assessment and action to address the interaction of behaviour, relationships and conditions that may, in combination, cause or accelerate risks • focus within assessment, planning and action upon listening to each child’s voice and recognising their experience, needs and feelings • collaboration between agencies and persistent efforts to work in partnership with parents in planning and action to prevent harm or reduce risk of harm • recognition and support for the strengths, relationships and skills within the child and their world in order to form a plan that reduces risk and builds resilience 1.51 Child protection is part of a continuum of collaborative duties upon agencies working with children. The Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) approach promotes and supports planning for such services to be provided in the way which best safeguards, supports and promotes the wellbeing of children, and ensures that any action to meet needs is taken at the earliest appropriate time to prevent acute needs arising. The planning of systems should ensure that action is integrated from the point of view of recipients. 1.52 Child protection processes fall at the urgent end of a continuum of services which include prevention and early intervention. The GIRFEC principles and approach are consistently applicable. Children who are subject to child protection processes may already be known to services. They may already have a child’s plan in place. Child protection processes should build on existing knowledge, strengths in planning and partnerships to reduce the risk of harm, and to meet the child’s needs. 1.53 Preventative and protective work may be needed at the same time. Preventative, restorative, supportive, collaborative and therapeutic approaches do not stop because compulsory measures or urgent protective legal steps are taken. A tailored blend of care and professional authority may be needed whether a child at risk is at home with family or accommodated, or when the child is to transition between placements or to be reunified with birth family after a placement away from home. 1.54 The level of risk a child is exposed to can shift, often rapidly, as circumstances change or information emerges. Services may be organised in response to ‘thresholds’ of risk. However, the way children and families act and think is not bound within such categories. Safe systems allow for a degree of flexibility as professional understanding of need and risk evolves. Safe systems ensure sufficient continuity of support when the immediate urgency to protect is alleviated. Safety may depend upon accessible support when need arises over the longer term. Appendix E signposts UNCRC articles. Protection of children from all forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence is inextricable from protection of the full range of each child’s UNCRC and human rights. What is harm and significant harm in a child protection context? 1.55 Protecting children involves preventing harm and/or the risk of harm from abuse or neglect. Child protection investigation is triggered when the impact of harm is deemed to be significant. 1.56 ‘Harm’ in this context refers to the ill treatment or the impairment of the health or development of the child, including, for example, impairment suffered as a result of seeing or hearing the ill treatment of another. ‘Development’ can mean physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development. ‘Health’ can mean physical or mental health. Forming a view on the significance of harm involves information gathering, putting a concern in context, and analysis of the facts and circumstances.