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NSPCC calls on Scottish Government to prioritise infant mental health

The NSPCC is calling on the Scottish Government to strengthen its commitment to early intervention by putting Scotland’s youngest children at the heart of its forthcoming mental health strategy, as new figures show that the number of young children taken into care is the highest for more than ten years.


As more young children come into care, the NSPCC says that the impact of abuse and a lack of stable care on children’s mental health is a growing problem for the whole of Scotland.

Professor Julie Taylor, the NSPCC’s head of strategy and development for high risk families said: “Abuse and maltreatment can cause significant trauma for children. Being then separated from your family and home can exacerbate this trauma and leave a young child feeling confused and unloved.

“Looked after children often move repeatedly between different foster care homes and their birth family before a decision can be made about what is in their best interests long term. The lack of a stable attachment to one or two caregivers that a young child knows they can love and trust can have a profound effect on their developing brain. This does long term damage to an individual child’s mental and physical health.”

New figures released by the Scottish Government show that 980 children under the age of five were taken into care last year - 384 of them were under the age of one. Across Scotland 16,171 children are looked after by local authorities, the number of looked after children in Scotland is now at its highest since 1981.

A recent Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration report found that it took more than four years for over half the children studied who were under the age of four to be placed in an environment where they had long term safety, security and stability.


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