More than 200 child protection professionals gathered today in Paisley for a Child Protection Conference on the theme of promoting children’s emotional health and wellbeing.
Staff from Renfrewshire Council, the NHS, Police Scotland, and other local agencies involved in looking after young people were among those who attended.
Keynote speakers at the bi annual event at Paisley Town Hall included Kate Cairns, author of the bestselling book, Attachment, Trauma and Resilience and the ‘Five to Thrive’ model of parenting and Julia Donaldson, the Clinical Director with the Glasgow Infant and Family Team.
Senior Forensic Psychologist Dan Johnson, who heads the psychology service at the town’s Kibble Education and Care Centre, addressed the conference on trauma and informed care.
Delegates also heard from John Paterson, the independent chair of Renfrewshire Child Protection Committee, which organised the event and brings together all the organisations involved in protecting children in the area.
There was a presentation on the specially commissioned Children and Young People Well-being survey by Renfrewshire Council’s Director of Children’s Services Peter MacLeod and Kate Tobin from the Dartington Social Research Unit.
Renfrewshire was the first local authority in the UK to measure the well-being of children and young people using a census approach in 2011, and the only one to repeat the survey.
Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children’s services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson, who opened the conference, said: “Children’s emotional health and wellbeing is a building block for educational attainment and can prevent future problems like mental health problems and substance misuse.
“It’s important to understand young people and the issues facing them to give them the best possible start in life and allow them to fulfil their potential.
“Events like this are vital in information sharing for the professionals involved in that field.”
Carol Burt and Debbie Campbell from the ‘I am Me Scotland’ team also gave a presentation on the #MakeaDifference programme they are delivering in primary schools to raise awareness of the harm caused by bullying and hate crime.
Pupils from Paisley’s Gallowhill Primary School, Mikey, 9, Liam and Abbey, both aged 10 and 11-year-old Aimee, told delegates about the work they have been doing with the charity to help tackle bullying, including making worry boxes where they can share any concerns anonymously.
John Paterson, the independent chair of Renfrewshire Child Protection Committee, said: “I’m extremely pleased the event is taking place and focussing on children’s emotional health and wellbeing.
“Everybody accepts it’s an area which needs the engagement of a wide range of agencies. Events like this will help ensure that this happens and focus attention on areas where we can seek to make a real difference.”
Anybody with any child protection concerns is encouraged to contact Renfrewshire Council’s social work team on 0300 300 1199 or Police Scotland.