The Multi Agency Resource Service (MARS) and the Scottish Child Care and Protection Network (SCCPN) have merged to become WithScotland, the only national resource which connects everyone working to protect Scotland’s children.
The creation of WithScotland follows confirmation of three year partnership funding from Scotland’s local authorities, ACPOS, NHS and the Scottish Government.
Based at the University of Stirling, the aim of WithScotland is to support all practitioners in connecting and exchanging knowledge and information on child care and protection.
Beth Smith, Director, WithScotland, said: "The recent announcement of our funding was the culmination of a collaborative approach between a range of people including Child Protection Committee Chairs and the wider child protection community.
"We are delighted to have secured the future of WithScotland for the benefit of all professionals working in child protection. The key to our success is the capacity to add value to the existing knowledge, expertise and resources within Scotland.
"The decision to rename ourselves WithScotland reflects our roots in collaboration and partnership with others and recognises and celebrates the vital role of others in helping to protect children and their wider communities in Scotland."
Agencies can approach WithScotland for tailored advice on dealing with complex child protection cases, to source research or for support in implementing recommendations from evaluations or inspections.
Chief Constable of Grampian Police, Colin McKerracher, commented: "WithScotland has the potential to become the most impressive and effective shared service providing support for child protection professionals across Scotland, so the announcement of the resource’s secured funding is fantastic. WithScotland helps to raise the level of service offered to all children and families who need support from Scottish child protection services."
The new WithScotland website hosts the Scottish Government’s recently launched public information landing page www.childprotectionscotland.org. This offers help and support to vulnerable children and families regarding child protection issues. The page includes clear, accessible information on what the public should do if they are concerned for a child’s welfare, with access to every child protection committee in Scotland.
Plans are also underway to help make stronger connections between child, adult and public protection. The first Adult Protection Co-ordinator in Scotland was recently appointed with a remit to co-ordinate work across the adult protection field, including working closely with Adult Protection Committees.