The survey questions

Parent experience of children’s care system in Scotland

1. Experiences of the child protection investigatory process

1. Were you included in decisions being made about your child?

Always/More often than not/Rarely/Never

2. Did you receive reports and invitations voluntarily to meetings at least 7 days in advance?

Always/More often than not/Rarely/Never

3. Were you given an opportunity to share your views before and during key meetings?

Always/More often than not/Rarely/Never/

A Free Text option was provided here to include responses that did not use the Scale

4. Did you feel treated with respect and dignity by social workers and other professionals involved in the child protection case?

Always/More often than not/Rarely/Never

5. Did the child protection investigation lead to financial hardship?

Yes/No

6. Has the child protection investigation affected your ability to work or future career options?

Yes/No

The first section concluded with a scale relating to trust:

On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being not at all, 10 being completely) how much did you feel you could trust the social worker working with your family?

Then Free Text: Any further comments regarding your experiences? For instance did the child protection investigation affect your feelings of self-worth? Did the investigation affect your health? Is there enough support for parents during such investigations? What could be different?

2. Experiences relating to their child having been removed to and in care

1. Have your children been removed from your care?

Yes/No

2. How long has or was your child in care?

Less than 3 months/3 months-1 year/1-2 years/More than 2 years

3. Were your children placed with a family member?

Yes and they continue to be/Yes but only after a period in foster care/Family was not approved/Family was never considered

4. Have your children been separated from each other?

Yes/No

5. Were you given clear reasons for removal?

Yes/No

6. Please tick any of these official reasons for removal that were given

Physical abuse/Sexual abuse/Domestic violence/Risk of emotional harm/Neglect/Medical, Disability, Special Education Needs, ‘Fabricated and Induced Illness’/Poverty/Poor engagement and cooperation with Social Work

7. Has your child been returned to your care?

Yes/No

8. Was there any support following the removal of your child?

Yes/No

9. Was there any support following the return of your child?

Yes/No

10. Has your child been adopted?

Yes/No

11. If your child was adopted do you have contact and if so what form does this take?

Free Text

3. Experiences relating to contact with their child whilst they were in care

1. Do you have/ did you have contact with your ‘looked after child’?

Yes/No

2. How frequent is/was this?

1-2 times a year/1-2 times a month/1-2 times a week/3 or more times a week

3. Is/was contact meeting the needs of your child?

The question here offers a complex choice of responses ranging from a yes to a no with nineteen possible points in between.

4. Are/were contact facilities suitable for you and your child, e.g. premises, catering, travel to and from? Please rate 1 star (not suitable) to 5 stars (Very good)

5. Is/was your contact supervised?

Yes/No

6. Did your contact change over time? Increase or decrease?

Increased/Decreased

7. Was contact cancelled regularly by the local authority or regularly disrupted?

Yes/No

8. Do you have ‘indirect contact’, that is not face-to-face?

Yes/No

9. Does your child have contact with any siblings from whom they are separated?

Yes/No

Then Free Text: Any further comments regarding your experiences of contact? What would you change? What would you keep, or want more of?

4. Representation and advocacy

1. Have you had legal advice and support?

Yes/No

2. Did you have legal advice and representation pre- removal proceedings (court)?

Yes/No

3. Did you have legal advice and representation after removal proceedings (court) commenced?

Yes/No

4. Do you feel you had adequate and effective legal support?

Yes/No

5. Have you had an independent supporter or advocate for you?

Yes/No

6. Were they helpful?

Yes/No

7. Would you have benefited from such support earlier?

Yes/No

Free Text: Any further comments regarding your experiences of support during care proceedings, or lack of it?

The questionnaire concludes with an invitation to add anything else:

‘The next section is an invitation to tell us more if you wish. Is there anything that we have forgotten or extra that you would like to tell us about your contact with social services?’

NEXT – Uncovering the Pain PDF version