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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 March 2006, 11:52 GMT
Child concern over drugs problem
Kathleen Marshall
Prof Marshall said children living in a drugs environment were in danger
Scotland's children's commissioner has warned of an imbalance between protecting children whose parents are drug addicts and taking them into care.

Kathleen Marshall said frontline care workers were concerned youngsters could "yo-yo" between family and care.

Ms Marshall was speaking following the case of an East Lothian toddler who died after a methadone overdose.

Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson is conducting a drug policy review after Derek Doran's death.

Two-year-old Derek died after drinking methadone at his home in Elphinstone, East Lothian, in December.

First Minister Jack McConnell has announced a review of Scotland's methadone programme following the case.

We need to have a much more radical look at how we support families in the community
Kathleen Marshall
Children's Commissioner

Ms Marshall said frontline care workers were concerned about the damage caused to children by being repeatedly removed from the home as their parents underwent rehabilitation programmes.

Speaking on BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme, Ms Marshall said: "A lot of people at the frontline are concerned that children can sometimes yo-yo between family and care - with one attempt at rehabilitation after another.

"Then they fail and by that time the child is so damaged that it's actually difficult to secure a permanent stable home for them."

Lifestyle change

Ms Marshall said there was a scarcity of care places in Scotland to cope with the demands of children needing help.

"We need to have a much more radical look at how we support families in the community," she added.

"There are some seeds of hope and some promising things happening around the country... things like breakfast clubs and after-school clubs."

Ms Jamieson said ministers wanted people with children to return to a drug-free lifestyle.

"We want to see a situation where methadone is not the only option and that there are other things put in place to ensure people's problems are dealt with and children are looked after properly," said the minister.

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05 Mar 06 |  Scotland
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