The Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill was passed by MSPs on 19th February with 103 MSPs voting in favour, and 15 against.
The Bill introduces a range of measures including an increase in free childcare for three, four and vulnerable two-year-olds, from 475 to 600 hours – around 16 hours per week – this is effective from August.
Other measures include strengthening the law on school closures and from April 2015, teenagers in residential, foster or kinship care gain new rights to stay on to the age of 21, as well as rights to ongoing support up to their 26th birthday.
The legislation also strengthens the planning of services for children and young people by clearly defining the wider wellbeing factors which affect their lives and the expectation that services to support them will take this into account. When taken together with refreshed duties for involving more stakeholders in the process this creates real opportunities for third sector and community voices to influence the planning process.
Children and Young Person Minister Aileen Campbell said it is an “extraordinary piece of legislation” that will “help make Scotland the best place to grow up”.
There has been controversy around the proposal in the Bill for all children to be appointed a named person with critics branding the policy as being anti-family.
The named person role is to provide a single point of contact for families and those concerned about a child’s wellbeing, development, or safety and seeks to ensure that services are coordinated in the interests of the child.
GCVS strongly supports this role and are keen that the third sector helps to deliver the broader purpose of GIRFEC.
The GCVS Everyone’s Children Project will work with key partners in Glasgow and nationally, to raise awareness of GIRFEC and to map and demonstrate the contribution of the third sector in Glasgow, whose work with children and their families often helps to prevent the need for statutory intervention. We will be working particularly with smaller third sector organisations who provide support to children and their families from birth to early adulthood, to share learning and support capacity building, workforce development and training.
More information about the GCVS project will soon be available on our website. For more information on the broader contribution of GIRFEC see the Scottish Government GIRFEC website.
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