News In Focus
Government to set up new child protection unit
Scotland is to have the UK's first hub of child protection expertise, which can put agencies in touch with leading professionals from across the world.
The Multi-Agency Resource Service (MARS), to be based at the University of Stirling, will help councils and other child protection agencies work through difficult cases and share good practice.
The unit will bring together a network of expertise from practice, policy and research to support professionals.
The establishment of the MARS unit is part of the Scottish Government's response to recommendation 27 of the SWIA report "An Inspection into the Care and Protection of Children in Eilean Siar". The Government has allocated £410,000 over three years to create and run the service. It should start work in the summer. It will be headed up by a director and initially have three members of staff.
Children's Minister Adam Ingram said: "Scotland's child protection services undergo thorough inspections to maintain high standards, but we always want to continue improving measures for children at risk.
"That's why we are setting up this pioneering hub of expertise, which will let agencies draw on advice and support from international leaders in the field."
He added: "By helping agencies to work through difficult cases, share successes and develop strategic approaches we can ensure they are best equipped to help children at risk.”
Child protection services in every local authority area in Scotland are currently being inspected. The inspections should finish in March of this year, with the final reports due for publication in September.