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  • This document relates to the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill (SP Bill 27) as

    introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 17 April 2013

    SP Bill 27–PM 1 Session 4 (2013)

    CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE (SCOTLAND) BILL

    ——————————

    POLICY MEMORANDUM

    INTRODUCTION

    1. This document relates to the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 17 April 2013. It has been prepared by the Scottish Government to satisfy

    Rule 9.3.3 of the Parliament’s Standing Orders. The contents are entirely the responsibility of

    the Scottish Government and have not been endorsed by the Parliament. Explanatory Notes and

    other accompanying documents are published separately as SP Bill 27–EN.

    POLICY OBJECTIVES OF THE BILL

    2. It is the aspiration of the Scottish Government for Scotland to be the best place to grow up in. The objective of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill is to make real this ambition by

    putting children and young people at the heart of planning and delivery of services and ensuring

    their rights are respected across the public sector.

    3. Specifically, the Bill aims to:

     Ensure that children’s rights properly influence the design and delivery of policies and services by placing new duties on the Scottish Ministers and the public sector

    and by increasing the powers of Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young

    People;

     Improve the way services support children and families by promoting cooperation between services, with the child at the centre;

     Strengthen the role of early years support in children’s and families’ lives by increasing the amount and flexibility of funded early learning and childcare;

     Ensure better permanence planning for looked after children by improving support for kinship carers, families and care leavers, extending corporate parenting across the

    public sector, and putting Scotland’s National Adoption Register on a statutory

    footing; and

     Strengthen existing legislation that affects children and young people by making procedural and technical changes in the areas of children’s hearings support

    arrangements, secure accommodation placements, and school closures.

  • This document relates to the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill (SP Bill 27) as

    introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 17 April 2013

    2

    BACKGROUND

    4. Scotland is in a defining period, facing unique challenges and opportunities. Our children and young people face new and significant demands both individually and collectively. In the

    face of such challenges, it is the job of public services to: support children and parents;

    strengthen resilience; provide opportunities; and encourage and enable children and young

    people to participate fully, whatever their background and from wherever they come. We should

    not be content just to address problems or maintain the status quo. Improvement must be at the

    core of what the Scottish Government and wider public services do. This is not just an issue of

    prioritising resources, important as that is. It is also about shifting the culture in how children

    and young people are helped to achieve their potential and how public services and communities

    can best work to support families.

    5. The Scottish Government fully recognises this responsibility, both morally and practically, for it is through the engagement and participation of its children and young people in society that

    Scotland will flourish and succeed. Inevitably the constraints of the constitution are limiting,

    preventing the use of powerful tools such as the tax and benefits system. Nevertheless, the

    Scottish Government must do all it can with the powers available to improve the lives of

    Scotland’s children and young people.

    6. On 11 May 2012, the First Minister announced the Scottish Government’s intention to introduce a Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill to the Parliament in 2013. The Bill sets

    out fundamental reforms to children’s services in line with the report of the Christie

    Commission, which highlighted the importance of early years, prevention and personalised

    service delivery with a clear focus on the achievement of outcomes. 1

    7. The Scottish Government response to the Christie Commission report explains that its public service reform programme for improving service outcomes for the people of Scotland is based

    on four pillars:

     A decisive shift towards prevention;

     Greater integration of public services at a local level, driven by better partnership, collaboration and effective local delivery;

     A sharp focus on improving performance, through greater transparency and innovation; and

     Use of digital technology.

    8. These pillars are the basis for the Scottish Government’s agenda to achieve its stated ambitions for Scotland’s children and young people. That agenda includes:

     Re-focusing the delivery and coordination of services to children and young people around their needs and wellbeing, so that care is person-centred, with the child at the

    centre of service design, planning and delivery;

     A stronger emphasis on supporting children and improving their wellbeing;

    1 Scottish Government, Commission On The Future Delivery of Public Services (2011)

  • This document relates to the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill (SP Bill 27) as

    introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 17 April 2013

    3

     A fundamental shift in philosophy and approach from intervening only once a crisis has happened, to prevention and early intervention where appropriate;

     Providing the right support to parents to enable them to effectively fulfil what is the most challenging role in society and involving them in decisions that affect them and

    their families;

     Recognising the rights of the child as being of paramount importance to achieving the vision of improving life chances for all children and young people; and

     Empowering practitioners to take decisions and act to improve outcomes.

    9. Much progress has been and continues to be made through these and other activities. There is, of course, more to do. Scotland’s children and young people continue to face a myriad of

    challenges:

     There were 2,706 children on the Child Protection Register in Scotland as of July 2011. Scotland has a lower proportion of children on the Child Protection Register

    than other parts of the UK, but the share of the wider children’s population on the

    Register has not changed greatly over the past decade; 2

     In Scotland, in 2011, over 16,000 children were looked after. Although recent years have seen a sustained fall in new referrals into care and an increase in young people

    leaving care, Scotland has a higher proportion of looked after children than other

    parts of the UK – and the proportion of ―formal‖ kinship carers continues to grow

    sharply; 3

     Children and young people who need to come into care are more likely to have poorer outcomes than their peers. Health and educational attainment outcomes for

    most looked after children are significantly worse than for other children and young

    people; 4

     On current estimates, between 10,000 and 20,000 children live with at least one parent who is using drugs,

    5 and between 36,000 and 51,000 children are living with

    parents (or guardians) whose alcohol use is potentially problematic; 6

     Three-quarters of families experiencing high adversity have low parenting skills;7 and

     While child poverty has fallen markedly over the past decade, 170,000 children and young people in Scotland still live below the poverty threshold (17% of all children

    and young people). 8 Children and young people who grow up in poor households are

    2 Scottish Government, Children’s Social Work Statistics Scotland, 2011-12 (2013) 3 Ibid 4 Scottish Government, The Health of Looked After and Accommodated Children and Young People in Scotland - Messages from

    Research (2006) and Scottish Government, Educational Outcomes for Scotland’s Looked After Children 2010/11 (2012) 5 Scottish Government, “Looking Beyond Risk” Parental Substance Misuse: Scoping Study (2006) 6 Scottish Government, Final Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment for Minimum Price Per Unit Of Alcohol As Contained

    In Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Bill (2012) 7 Scottish Government, Growing Up in Scotland: Parenting and Children's Health (2011) 8 Scottish Government, Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland: 2010-11 (2012)

  • This document relates to the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill (SP Bill 27) as

    introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 17 April 2013

    4

    more likely to have low self-esteem, play truant, leave home earlier, leave school

    earlier and with fewer qualifications, and be economically inactive as adults. 9

    10. Of course, children’s and young people’s future lives are not just shaped by their backgrounds. Nevertheless, the potential impact that a ca

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