Young People’s Views of the Child Protection System in Scotland

Child protection investigations and the number of children on Child Protection Registers are high and constantly rising. In the UK, professionals are bound by legislation to uphold the rights of children and young people in matters that concern them and impact upon their lives. Previous research that examined young people’s perceptions of the Child Protection System (CPS) has shown many areas of dissatisfaction. In this current Scottish study, eleven children and young people (six aged between twelve and fifteen years, five aged sixteen years or over) were consulted about their experience of the CPS in a Scottish local authority. Each participant had been the focus of a CPS investigation within the previous eighteen months.

This current study used semi-structured individual interviews to elicit the views of children and young people about the CPS and their views about improvements that could make the CPS more effective. This study found that young people are willing and able to discuss their perceptions of child protection services. The results highlight areas of deficit in the CPS that could be amended in order to engage young people more effectively. In addition to confirming areas of dissatisfaction and revealing key anxieties, the participants made positive suggestions for improvement.