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Focus on safety and wellbeing of children and young people highlighted

A report to the next Full Council meeting on 16 December 2020 will outline how the multi-agency Perth and Kinross Child Protection Committee (CPC) has been working to protect children and young people from harm, abuse and exploitation over the past year, including the coronavirus lockdown.

Councillors will consider the annual CPC Standards & Quality report which presents a high-level overview of the activity undertaken over the past year, reflecting what has been achieved, key strengths and areas for further improvement.

The impact of COVID-19 is highlighted as very significant, both on how the CPC has operated and how child protection services were delivered. However, the meeting will also hear that the already strong partnership arrangements have allowed all the agencies involved to adapt to new ways of working and strengthen their links further, while supporting frontline workers to deliver key child protection services. The report notes that work is continuing to ensure staff remain empowered and enabled to do so. 

While there has been an increase in reports of concerns for youngsters and the conversion from initial assessments to children and young people being placed on the Child Protection Register also remains high, the report also reflects that this shows 'the children and young people, most at risk of significant harm, abuse and exploitation are being correctly identified, managed, supported and protected'.  The areas of concern being reported continue to focus around parental mental ill-health, domestic abuse, and problematic parental drug and/or alcohol misuse.

Councillors will hear that the work of the CPC has, over the past year, seen improvements in how partners engage with young people; greater use of new technologies; additional support for young carers and for young people's mental health; and increased monitoring of key areas of service delivery to ensure that the right support was being delivered and any issues could be addressed quickly. With a strong capacity for improvement already in place, the CPC has identified a range of key actions it will continue to progress in the year to come.

Council Leader, Councillor Murray Lyle said: "Perth and Kinross Child Protection Committee is committed to remaining alert; continually identifying areas of risk; ensuring continuous improvement and maintaining excellence in the work it undertakes to protect children and young people from harm, abuse and exploitation. All the agencies involved have at their heart the aim to help the youngest members of our communities grow, thrive and achieve, and even with the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, this report shows the work being done is making a difference."