Statistics shed gloomy light on plight of children in Glasgow

No matter how much money she was given, it would never be enough to meet the needs of Glasgow's children, the city's executive director for social work and education, Margaret Doran, told the primary heads.

The city had 20 children in secure units at a cost of Pounds 250,000 per year each - a cost not included in the Scottish Government's settlement, she told the annual conference of the Association of Heads and Deputes in Scotland last week. The conference had inclusion and the Additional Support for Learning Act as its focus.

Ms Doran quoted a list of statistics to illustrate Glasgow's challenge:

- 10,258 children get support from social work;

- 38,056 children in the city depend on benefits of some kind;

- 35,000 have additional support needs;

- 19.8 per cent of Scotland's looked-after children live in Glasgow;

- 7,600 children affected by their parents' drug misuse;

- 9,937 are affected by their parents' alcohol misuse;

- 9,261 children are referred to the Children's Reporter, 7,435 of them on child welfare grounds;

- 8,897 reported incidents of domestic abuse.

Experts from New York and the Netherlands had recently visited Glasgow to learn from its good practice in multi-agency working.

"We need to be more confident about what we are doing in Scotland. They are coming here and saying, 'This is fantastic'," Ms Doran said.

Among the new approaches she has introduced are "drilling down" and "work shadowing".

Every three weeks, she picks a case and "reels in" the social worker involved and goes through it; and every Wednesday, someone from one of the services shadows her for the day to gain a wider perspective of the other agencies involved.

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