Procedures and guidance cannot in themselves protect children; a competent, skilled and confident workforce, together with a vigilant public, can. Child protection is a complex system requiring the interaction of services, the public, children and families. For the system to work effectively, it is essential that everyone understands the contribution they can make and how those contributions work together to provide the best outcomes for children. Social workers, health professionals, police, educational staff and anyone else who works with children and their families, as well as members of the community, need to appreciate the important role they can play in remaining vigilant and providing robust support for child protection. Guidance provides the framework for that understanding. It enables managers and practitioners to apply their skills collectively and effectively and to develop a shared understanding of their common objective – to support and protect children, particularly those who are most vulnerable.
Improving outcomes for children and young people is a fundamental objective for all services and organisations. Ensuring that they and their families get the help they need, when they need it, will give all children and young people the opportunity to flourish. Agencies can improve outcomes for Scotland’s most vulnerable by adopting common frameworks for assessment, planning and action that help them to identify needs and risks and work together to address them appropriately.