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Wednesday, 08 February 2017

New Scottish data shows clear link between deprivation and child development

Written by The Press Association

Children from the poorest parts of Scotland are more than twice as likely to have concerns recorded about their development.

New figures show more than a quarter (26%) of children from the most deprived areas had at least one developmental concern identified during reviews offered to every child reaching 27 months.

That compares to just one in nine (11%) for children living in the most affluent parts of the country in 2015/16.

During the reviews, health visitors assess the child against nine developmental categories, including attention, speech, social, emotional, behavioural, vision and hearing.

Statisticians said: "There is a clear association between deprivation and developmental concerns with children from the most deprived areas more than twice as likely to have at least one developmental concern."

However the percentage of children with at least one concern identified has fallen slightly in both the most and least deprived areas between 2013/14 and 2015/16.

In Scotland overall, 18% of children had at least one concern identified, with speech, language and communication the most common issue raised.

Boys were more likely than girls to have a concern recorded, at 23% compared to 13%, while n early a quarter (24%) of Asian children had at least one concern compared to nearly one in five (19%) for the white Scottish ethnic group.

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said: "We welcome the publication of the 27-30 month review statistics, which show more than 50,000 children received a review of their development.

"We are investing in 500 additional health visitors and prioritising the health visiting service to enable more engagement earlier with families.

"We are taking urgent action to help those children who are living in poverty now, and to prevent future generations of children growing up in poverty.

"We will be introducing a Child Poverty Bill imminently which will set in statute ambitious income targets to reduce child poverty by 2030."

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