Child Protection Register figures fall in Midlothian

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The number of children on the Child Protection Register in Midlothian has halved, according to the latest figures.

Midlothian Council social work statistics show that in the year to July 2012, 117 children were on the Child Protection Register and by July 2013, the figure had dropped to 59.

Cabinet member for social work, Councillor Catherine Johnstone (SNP) welcomed the news: “Protecting children and making sure they are safe, secure and have the best start in life is of paramount importance to us.

“We have been working tirelessly with our partner agencies to manage our child protection referrals and registration. We’re also intervening earlier to protect children and taking a preventative approach, all of which is meaning fewer children are now placed on the register.”

The latest figures come in the wake of the publication of the Child Social Work Statistics Scotland.

In Midlothian 1.7 per cent of children and young people aged 0-17 were are looked after in 2013 compared with the Scottish average of 1.5 per cent.

No children were fostered outwith the county in the year to July 2013 compared with five in the same period the previous year.

Meanwhile the number of ‘looked after’ children at home with parents rose from 65 in 2012 to 110 in 2013.

Councillor Johnstone said: “This rise shows the outcome of our work to keep children at home where possible, working with families to improve their situations.“

She added that the drop in the number of looked after children in residential and secure care (from six in 2011 to one in 2013 for secure care) reflects a new ethos of looking to find solutions and services that keep Midlothian children as Midlothian children rather than sending them into residential or secure care out of the authority and away from their communities: “We’re delighted to see our hard work is paying off but we realise we can’t afford to be complacent therefore we’re continually looking at ways of improving our service.”