Six pilot locations announced for Scottish child protection service

Scotland’s minister for Children and Young People has announced six locations which will be used as test sites for a child protection service.

Natalie Don, SNP MSP for Renfrewshire North and West and minister for Keeping the Promise, revealed North Strathclyde, Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City, Tayside and the Outer Hebrides have been selected to pilot the Bairns’ Hoose project.

Bairns’ Hoose offers support to those who have been subjected to child abuse, as well as those who have witnessed it.

It also offers support to children under the age of criminal responsibility whose behaviour has caused harm.

Keeping the Promise is the Scottish Government’s pledge that children living in the country will grow up safe, loved and respected.

The Scottish Government has invested £6 million in funding to the initiative, and the six chosen locations will set up pathfinders to provide support for children and young people in the justice system.

Its services include child protection, recovery, healthcare, therapeutic support and justice.

The six locations chosen will provide a blueprint for a full pilot, scheduled to launch in 2025.

Ms Don (pictured) said: “Establishing this network is a major step forward in our aim to transform the care and justice systems for children and young people, many of whom will have been through serious trauma.

“The creation of these pathfinders will also help us to collectively uphold the rights of children and their families to compassionate and effective support in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

“This is a key action in Keeping the Promise and I’m pleased to have marked Care Experienced Week by meeting representatives of this vital project to hear about their vision for the future as one of the first Bairns’ Hoose Pathfinder Partnerships.”

Dougie Dunlop, independent chair who spoke on behalf of the Fife Partnership, Child Protection Committee, said all agencies of the partnership are “delighted” that they were chosen as a site for Bairns’ Hoose.

He added: “This provides Fife with an opportunity to build on the strengths of our existing partnership arrangements to further develop our approach to supporting children and their families where they may have suffered harm.

“It will bring all key services together within one child centred facility that will make it easier for children and their families to get the support they need in what can be very difficult circumstances.

“It will be a very important addition to our range of responses and will be a significant benefit to the children involved.”

Bairns’ Hoose is based on the Icelandic Barnahus, meaning children’s house in English.

Bragi Guobrandsson, founder and member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, said: “I am delighted that Barnahus is being implemented in Scotland through the Bairns’ Hoose Pathfinder programme led by Scottish Government and working with partners across a range of sectors.

“This important milestone shows that Barnahus can be adapted to different contexts, cultural traditions, and legislative structures, but its core concept remains the same – to support children who have experienced trauma, in the best possible way, through multiagency responses.

“A significant financial contribution from the Scottish Government will help to build on the positive collaborative working between social work, police, health, third sector and other partners to ensure successful implementation and capturing learning to support a wider national rollout.

“I look forward to following the progress of Scotland’s Bairns’ Hoose Pathfinders closely

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