In early 2020, the Scottish Independent Care Review published its findings, recommendations and a plan to meet these1.
We explore what it means in practice to implement the Scottish Independent Care Review recommendations for an age group that is often overlooked: infants aged 0-3 years, the youngest and some of the most vulnerable children in Scotland.
This report focuses on the fundamental principles and priority areas contained in the first Promise Implementation Plan2. Taking each of these in turn, the report:
We’ve focused on local implementation, describing what this means for the very youngest, including pre-verbal, children, to ensure that the perspectives and needs of infants are at the heart of the transformation of service design and delivery.
Authors: Susan Galloway and Rachel Love
The specific rights and needs of infants must be differentiated from those of older children and must be acted upon. Those in policy, planning and decision-making roles need to be knowledgeable about the principles of infant mental health, child development and the impact of trauma in infancy.
Intensive community-based support in early pregnancy should be available to all expectant mothers and partners who need it.
Careful interpretation of infant behaviour takes time, sensitivity, critical thinking, observation in different contexts, and testing out in the context of the child’s care relationships.
Scotland’s Hearings System must be consistent in its ability to make legal decisions about the care of infants within their developmental timescales and must also contain significant expertise on infant mental health, child development and early trauma.
For example, domestic abuse services should include interventions to promote the mutual recovery of mothers and infants, and support infant-mother attachment. Homelessness services should provide pathways to enhanced support for mothers with infants.
Are you a social worker or practitioner? Tune into our episode on understanding the developmental needs and vulnerabilities of infants under two.
Our service helps social workers and judges decide whether a child on a care plan should live with their birth family or enter care.
Please cite as: Galloway, S. and Love, R. (2023) Keeping The Promise to infants, 0-3 years. London: NSPCC.