The number of children placed on the child protection register has shot up in North Ayrshire.

There were 171 kids on the database  at the start of this year because they were at risk of violence, neglect or other serious harm. 

A social work boss said figures have soared because staff are taking earlier action to stop children being abused. 

Recent child protection register numbers have reached higher levels compared to three years ago with more babies and kids under five being added. 

A report from North Ayrshire chief social work officer David MacRitchie said: “We began the year with an unprecedented high number of children registered on our Child Protection Register.”

The report continued: “[An] early intervention approach has led to earlier identification of needs and risks.

“This multidisciplinary approach to keeping babies and children in North Ayrshire safe, has led to children being placed on the Child Protection Register.

“North Ayrshire’s pre-school child protection registrations and investigations are higher than other areas in Scotland.” 

By March 31 this year, names on the register dropped to 113.

Some measures include every family getting 11 home visits from health workers until a child starts school. 

Specialised midwives are also on hand to work with families at home before the babies are born.

Social workers held 43 special conferences to discuss fears for babies before they were born during the year up to April this year. 

The chief social worker said children are on the register for shorter periods and the numbers of kids in care are going down. 

The annual report, which was presented to the Integration Joint Board said deprivation in North Ayrshire impacts children’s futures. 

Councillor Anthea Dickson commended staff and said early intervention is crucial after the hearing the report’s contents.