Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Probe into Scots child protection demanded

Inspectors praise aberdeenfor tackling problems The Scottish Government was last night under pressure to order an inquiry into crisis-hit child protection services. Labour and Conservatives demanded immediate action following a third damning report into child protection in just eight months. HM Inspectorate of Education found a litany of weaknesses and failures in Dundee, very similar to those in Aberdeen last November and Moray in February. In the case of Aberdeen, inspectors had said they were not confident all children at risk of harm, abuse or neglect, and in need of protection, were receiving support. They found 10 categories weak, four unsatisfactory and four satisfactory. The findings were branded very concerning by the Scottish Government. However, child protection chiefs in Aberdeen have acted to make improvements in the last seven months, under interim social work director Philip Cotterill. A follow-up inspection report published today said they responded positively to the main points of action. It said there had been significant improvements in the leadership and direction of the city council and social workers are now working in a more open and supportive environment. Childrens Minster Adam Ingram said encouraging progress is being made. The Dundee report was issued three months early following toddler Brandon Muirs death from an assault by his mothers boyfriend, Robert Cunningham, who was jailed for the youngsters culpable homicide. The report said vulnerable children did not receive help until their circumstances had reached crisis levels.

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