Vulnerable children in large families may be at more risk

The Herald Scotland is reporting that children who live in large troubled families may be more at risk of coming to harm, a review by the care watchdog has concluded.

The study, covering 20 cases in which a vulnerable child, or another person connected to them, had been seriously hurt or had died, found that six incidents involved families with four or more children.

The cases surveyed were all subject to significant case reviews (SCRs) – which are carried out on behalf of local councils and child protection committees when a child dies, or is significantly harmed amid abuse or neglect.

The Care Inspectorate’s report says the size of a family can increase existing risks, adding: “Some parental behaviours such as domestic abuse, substance misuse and poor supervision of the children added to the family’s difficulties. Multiple births bring additional demands, which place considerable strain on even a highly functioning family.”

It highlights other factors which also increase the risk to children, including substance misuse – which was a factor in more 11 of the reviews (55 per cent), domestic abuse, which was involved in 13 of the cases (65 per cent) and parental mental health problems, which were also present in 13 cases.

Matt Forde, national head of service for NSPCC Scotland said: “The report from the Care Inspectorate highlights significant weaknesses in how SCRs are currently carried out. When a child dies or is seriously harmed by abuse it is absolutely crucial that the SCRs that follow enable all relevant lessons to be learned.”

More at: Vulnerable children in large families may be at more risk

Do you think we need to look more carefully at larger families? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie

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