Scottish ministers have pledged to identify children at risk in homes of drug-addicted parents even during the pregnancy stage itself. //
Minister Jack McConnell unveiled the Scottish Executive's new policy Hidden Harm - Next Steps to protect such children effectively.
The policy proposes plans to improve the identification of these children at risk, even before their birth so that support could be made available as early as possible. Plans were proposed to assess drug-addicted parents to assess their capability about functioning in that role.
According to the strategy more efforts need to be made to share information between different agencies, such as those dealing with adults and children.
In addition a new national fostering strategy has also been proposed on fostering care for a greater number of children in contrast to the earlier efforts that were mainly required to keep vulnerable children at home.
The number of children expected to require care has been estimated to be between 40,000 and 60,000.
The policy was unveiled by the minister on a visit to the Aberlour Project in Edinburgh with Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson who said ‘Everyone accepts that taking a child away from its parents is a heart-wrenching decision to make.’
‘It is a step that should never be taken lightly, but I am convinced that where a child is placed in serious danger by parents who are addicted to drugs, it is the safety of the child that must always come first.’
Aberlour is to lead the publishing of a report about children affected by parental substance use, entitled ‘Have We Got Our Priorities Right?’
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