NLC Child protection focus for Bhutan visitors

NORTH Lanarkshire Council’s child protection systems topped the agenda during a recent fact-finding visit from a Bhutan delegation.

Officials from The Royal Kingdom of Bhutan, in south Asia and UNICEF representatives, spent time with the local authority and their partners to learn first-hand of the ways they work to protect children in the area.

During the 10-day stay, the visitors met frontline staff with responsibility for protecting children; spoke

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to vulnerable young adults; visited the social work emergency service; stopped off for lunch in a children’s houses; spoke with health and law enforcement professionals and visited the Friday Night Project to meet with some young people.

The approach North Lanarkshire Council and its partners Strathclyde Police, NHS Lanarkshire and the

Children’s Reporter adopt in delivering and co-ordinating their child protection services has been positively

recognised and was one area that the delegation was keen to explore.

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The group also wanted to see how Scotland manages and deploys its social workers, including training, accreditation and regulation (Bhutan doesn’t have social workers) and to learn more about the Scottish

Juvenile System (Children’s Hearing System) and diversionary activity for young people involved in offending behaviour.

Mary Fegan, head of social work services said: “It’s always a pleasure welcoming other professionals to North Lanarkshire, sharing the ways in which we work and discussing our experiences.

“Despite being on opposite sides of the world we share the same vision to protect and look after our children

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and I hope that this visit will go some way in shaping child protection services across their communities.”

“We were all proud to show off our services.”

Ms Dhhoeki Penjor, children’s division Royal Government of Bhutan, added: “We will remember your warmth and hospitality and we will be able to use/adapt some of the policies, practices and approaches that

you have shared with us. Many thanks.”