Dundee’s chief social worker has said more support must be given to children with a parent in prison.
Jane Martin said more children in Scotland are affected by the imprisonment of a parent than divorce.
But she said the stigma of having a jailed relative means families are often reluctant to ask for support.
Addressing Dundee’s children and families services committee, Ms Martin said the true scale of the problem in the city remains unknown.
She said: “We don’t know how many children are affected by the imprisonment of a parent, but organisations outside Dundee will tell you there are more children in Scotland affected by the imprisonment of a parent than divorce.
“It’s a hugely challenging area. There is a lot of work going on in schools, but what we are noticing is a stigma around it and we need to work with the families outside.”
Ms Martin was speaking as councillors discussed the local authority’s corporate parenting plan, which determines its approach to looking after children in care.
The report stated the number of looked-after children has fallen from 555 in 2017-18 to 519 in the current financial year. This figure includes children in care and those who have been placed to live with foster carers or other relatives.
Labour councillor Kevin Keenan asked if there was concern over the fall in the number of children needing to be looked after when Dundee’s “social pressures” remain high.
He said: “It seems a good news story but there have been a number of drug deaths in the city. The number of looked-after children is dropping while the social pressures on parents must remain high.”