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New children’s bill announced
Legislation to deliver the best package of early learning and childcare in the UK will be introduced in the Scottish Parliament next year as part of the new Children and Young People Bill.
Following consultation with local authorities, health boards, children’s organisations and other experts, the Bill will bring together, and enhance, earlier plans for separate legislation on children’s services and rights to better support Scotland’s children and families. Support includes the rise of free early learning and childcare from 475 hours to a minimum of 600 hours per year. An increase of 45 per cent in early learning and childcare provision since 2007.
The announcement of the new Bill coincides with the recent publication of the ‘Do the Right Thing’ report on the Scottish Government’s work to support children and their rights.
Children’s Minister Aileen Campbell said:
“This Government’s vision for children and young people is clear: we want Scotland to be the best place in the world for them to grow up. A place where children can access all the opportunities and support that they need, when they need it.
“A single, comprehensive piece of legislation, which strengthens the ways in which we support children, placing their rights at the heart of what we do, is central to making that vision a reality. The Children and Young People Bill will deliver the best package of early learning and childcare in the UK by increasing the amount of free early learning and childcare from 475 hours a year to a minimum of 600 hours.
“This Bill will boost our ongoing efforts to strengthen the rights of the child. Already our campaign to encourage parents to play, talk and read more with babies and young children, supports a child’s right to play and learn from the very early years. We will increase a child’s right to be heard through embedding our Getting it right for every child approach so children’s voices are considered whenever decisions are taken that affect them.
“I intend to consult on detailed proposals for the Bill later this year and I look forward to engaging with the Parliament and partners across the early years as this crucial piece of legislation progresses.”