Integrated Children's Service Plan discussed by members ahead of its official launch event

The Integrated Children’s Service Plan for Highland, covering the period between 2023-2026, has been discussed by members of the Health, Social Care & Wellbeing Committee (who met Thursday, 23 August), ahead of its formal launch event tomorrow.

This ambitious plan aims to support children, young people and families with commitments across six key areas:  poverty; child protection; corporate parenting; drugs and alcohol; health and wellbeing; and children’s rights and participation.

The formal launch of the Plan will take place at a public event in Inverness Leisure Centre on Friday, 25 August 2023.  The event is open to anyone who wants to find out more about what is available in Highland for individuals and families.

To celebrate the launch of the plan, around 70 local services and community groups will come together to highlight the range of support on offer across the Highland area.

Councillor David Fraser, Chair of the Health, Social Care & Wellbeing Committee, welcomed the rich discussion by members from across the Chamber and commented:  “The Plan’s imminent launch is the culmination of a considerable volume of work from professionals and officers over the last 18 months to develop this iteration of the plan, which captures our vision and ambition of effectively meeting the needs of children, young people and families in Highland for the coming years.

He continued:  “Launching the Plan through tomorrow’s event will provide a different dynamic to the strategy and I hope that this approach makes the content more accessible to individuals and promotes a greater level of engagement and understanding of the important matters covered.”

Also on the table for discussion was the report on the Children and Young People’s Needs Assessment, which acts as the foundation upon which the overarching Service Plan was informed and developed.

Its development forms part of a programme of work undertaken in Spring 2023, with key findings helping to shape the priorities outlined in the integrated children’s services plan.  The main conclusions established through the Needs Assessment process highlighted that:

  • Highland has a declining population of children and young people, with projections forecasting a continued reduction in the size of the population of children and young people.
  • Highland has a significant remote and rural geography and a high proportion of areas in the most access deprived in Scotland. One in three children and young people under 18 reside in remote rural areas.
  • The provision of services across the Highland geography is challenging, in turn reinforcing the need for statutory services, third sector organisations and other community groups to work collaboratively to improve the outcomes of Highland's children and young people.

In concluding, Cllr Fraser said:  “At its heart, one of the core aims of the Plan is to improve outcomes for Highland’s Infants, Children and Young People through local delivery of services and provide support by considering the needs of families across a life course from pre-birth to young adulthood.  A unique benefit of the life course approach is that we can more readily identify opportunities to minimise risk and enhance the protective factors through evidence-based interventions.”

The Integrated Children’s Service Plan report in full is available to download here:

The Children and Young People’s Needs Assessment report in full is available to download here:

24 Aug 2023