Child Protection Guidance 2021

National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 Part 1: The context for child protection 18 Version 1.0 September 2021 1.72 Reflection and supervision play a role in supporting careful, balanced and legitimate steps. This is essential given the contested, complex and partial information that may be available, and as a result of the pressure of time when a situation is urgent. Variability in judgement can unfold from differences in presentation and source of concerns. Judgement may also be affected by differences in agency policy, leadership style, professional skills, experience, values, intuition and assumptions. There may be differences in personal or collective emotional response affecting judgement. The availability of experienced peer support is a quietly influential factor, the presence or absence of which can affect the perceptions and professional resilience of everyone involved in child protection. For these reasons, the likelihood and significance of harm will be aided by standard operating procedures, guidance and frameworks. Safe judgement also requires the development and preservation of reflective practice, supervision and teamwork under stressful conditions. 1.73 In summary, child protection involves activity to assess and prevent harm from abuse, neglect, maltreatment and exploitation. Inter-agency judgement about whether harm is significant will evolve from assessment activity in which the child is central. Significant harm remains the test for some legal steps and actions. However, the threshold is not precisely defined in law or in guidance. Professionals need to be open minded and clear about the evidence and analysis that informs professional judgement regarding potential harm to a child at a certain stage in time, recognising that risk factors interact and assessments must be reviewed to reflect change. What is a named person, lead professional and child’s plan? 1.74 The Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) approach underpins both preventative and child protection processes. This includes an identified point of contact to provide early support, advice and access to services, a shared approach to assessment and consideration of wellbeing, and a shared response to identified needs, included planning for children across services where needed. Refreshed guidance describing GIRFEC policy and practice will be published in 2021. 1.75 Scottish Government’s commitment to the UNCRC is built on practical foundations in universal services. Parents need to know who they can contact when they need access to relevant support for their child’s wellbeing. Within the GIRFEC approach, these foundations are carried out through the role of a named person who is able to provide a clear point of contact within universal services, if a child, young person or their parents want information, advice or help. 1.76 Local arrangements and the term used to describe this role or function may vary from area to area. However, in general, the named person or equivalent function is provided by a person known to the child and family from universal services. This is usually a health visitor from birth to school age, a head teacher or deputy during primary school years and a head teacher, deputy, pastoral care teacher or guidance teacher during secondary school years. 1.77 The family may be offered direct support from their named person, or access to relevant services offered by the NHS, local authorities and Third Sector or community groups. At times during childhood and adolescence, some children and young people will need some extra help. A named person can provide or access information, advice and support to children and young people from within their own service, and when necessary request support from other services or agencies.