A coalition of organisations involved in the care of vulnerable children is calling for urgent action amid shortages of psychiatrists and psychologists.
This summer, The Herald revealed health boards had struggled to fill posts for trainee psychiatrists. Five out of eight positions for child and adolescent psychiatry were vacant at the end of the standard recruitment round and none of the eight slots caring for people with learning disabilities were filled.
Now a report from the Scottish National Steering Group of Educational Psychologists has warned their number is dangerously ill - with nearly a quarter heading towards retirement in the next four years.
The Scottish Children's Services Coalition (SCSC), whose members deliver residential care, specialist education and direct help and support for children with complex needs, said the ratio of educational psychologists to the population is now even worse than in 2001, when a national review pinpointed an urgent need to train more staff.
A spokesman from the SCSC said: "We are sitting on a ticking time bomb of increased demand and we cannot allow those who require psychiatric and psychology services to be left confined to the fringes simply due to a lack of personnel to address this need.
"Educational psychologists and psychiatrists play a crucial role in supporting vulnerable children and young people and contribute towards health and wellbeing and curricular initiatives."