Page last updated at 13:08 GMT, Wednesday, 30 September 2009 14:08 UK

Jump in protection register cases

Generic baby foot
The government believes people are more likely to report possible abuse

The number of youngsters placed on child protection registers increased by almost a third in a year, new figures have shown.

A total of 3,628 children were placed on the register in 2008-09, compared with 2,814 the previous year.

Children's Minister Adam Ingram said the upward trend was due to people being more willing to report their concerns.

But Labour called for an "urgent" re-examination of child protection.

Youngsters do not stay on the register permanently and the number of de-registrations from the register in the past year was 3,499 - up 9%.

At the end of March this year, there were 2,682 children on registers across Scotland, an increase of 10% on the previous year.

Social workers do a great job in working with problem families but the system needs to be re-examined
Iain Gray
Scottish Labour leader

There were 12,713 child protection referrals, where concern that a child is at risk of significant harm has been reported by an individual to social services.

Not all children who are referred are put on the register.

Mr Ingram said: "The rise in the number of referrals and children on the register is consistent with the general upward trend of recent years and the recent statistics showing an increasing number of children being taken into care.

"Every child in Scotland deserves to be safe and secure as they grow up and ensuring fast and effective protection is available to every young person at risk of neglect or abuse is a key priority for this government.

"Everybody has their part to play and these figures suggest more people are reporting their concerns and support is being put in place more quickly, more effectively and more collaboratively."

Drug abuse

Mr Ingram added that Scotland has the most "robust" child protection inspection regime in the UK.

But Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray said the figures came in the wake of an education inspectorate report which showed nearly one in four councils were not fully meeting the needs of children.

He added: "Every one of these 4,000 children are children at risk. But we know for every child where action is taken there are many more that are not identified.

"Social workers do a great job in working with problem families but the system needs to be re-examined."

Liberal Democrat spokesperson Margaret Smith highlighted drug abuse as a child protection issue.

She said: "Drug abuse played a central part in the Brandon Muir case and we know that across Scotland around 40,000 children are being raised by a drug addict."

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