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Calls to establish family centres

Family centres should be set up across Scotland in an attempt to improve the first years of children's lives, a report has said.

The network of centres across the country should be established with the co-operation of private, public and not-for-profit organisations, the Joining the Dots - A Better Start for Scotland's Children review said.

The recommendation is one of a series suggested in the report by the Scottish government's champion of children's early years, Professor Susan Deacon.

Others highlighted in the review include a greater emphasis being placed on effective parenting and the need for authorities to act quickly at the earliest signs that a child could be at severe risk of abuse and neglect during the early years of life.

Professor Deacon said on Wednesday: "We owe it to our children, families and communities to bring about real change in children's early years.

"As I've highlighted in today's report, everyone agrees that the early years lay the foundations for our children's future lives - we now need to build the same level of consensus on how we improve those early years and I hope that today's report is the starting point for helping to achieving that."

Children's Minister Adam Ingram said: "We will need time to fully consider Professor Deacon's suggestions for action."

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