Babies and infants
The HSWG listened to the experiences of:
- organisations, and
- professionals working alongside babies and infants,
and to the views of:
- foster carers,
- kinship carers,
- birth parents, and
- adoptive parents.
And they clearly heard concerns around very young children: that they're not as well considered in The Children’s Hearings System as they should be.
There is extensive research which highlights the importance of:
- a child’s early years,
- strong relationships from the very earliest stage of pregnancy and development, and
- strong attachment from the very earliest stage of pregnancy and development.
As well as this, Scotland's understanding of:
- trauma, and
- the impact of adversity in childhood
has developed significantly over the last few years.
The HSWG has also heard of gaps in:
- perinatal and infant mental health services, and
- adequate trauma recovery support.
Making sure voices are heard
Designing a system which is sensitive to the needs of babies and infants includes making sure:
- that the voices of babies, infants and their families are heard,
- that babies, infants and families have creative opportunities to take part in decisions affecting their lives,
- that their rights are upheld, including to safety, care and protection.
It also includes considering what supports are available for babies, infants and their families around foster, kinship, and adoptive parents.
Given the importance of early attachments, it will look at what they may look like for babies and younger children.
Sometimes parents are known to professionals before a baby is born. This is something the HSWG explored.