Page last updated at 01:11 GMT, Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Thousands of children in Scotland feel 'isolated'

Generic child
The report said up to 60,000 children live in drug-abusing families

A report by a children's charity has painted a bleak picture of life for thousands of youngsters in Scotland.

Action for Children Scotland said too many young people were left isolated and troubled.

Its Factfile report analysed a wide range of published statistics and research.

The charity said government policy was "heading in the right direction", but more needed to be done to strengthen family life.

Action for Children is running a campaign to focus attention on the needs of neglected children, and to highlight the need for a change in attitudes.

We need to reach these children and help to strengthen their families to break the cycle of neglect that can persist across generations
Louise Warde Hunter
Action for Children Scotland

Among the figures it highlighted are that the number of children taken into care stands at 15,000, the highest total for quarter of a century.

It also pointed out that up to 60,000 children were living in drug-abusing families, with a similar number affected by alcohol misuse.

One in nine children run away from home - about half to escape abuse and neglect.

The charity said the Scottish government's Early Years Framework supported the most vulnerable children - but it warned too many young people are left isolated.

Strengthening families to help themselves is the best answer, it said.

'Best answer'

Louise Warde Hunter, strategic director for the charity in Scotland, said: "It is clear from our Factfile report that problems within families are leaving far too many children isolated, troubled and alone.

"We need to reach these children and help to strengthen their families to break the cycle of neglect that can persist across generations.

"Our work across Scotland has shown that providing the right support for the most vulnerable families can change lives. Strengthening families to help themselves is the best answer for the future."

The figures were drawn from files including the Scottish government's Children Looked After Statistics 2007 to 2008 and Stepfamily Scotland 2007 Manifesto - Working to help stepfamilies stay together.

More recent information, such as a letter from Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to the Local Government and Communities Committee for their child poverty inquiry, from 28 March this year, is also included in the report.



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