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New Bill will aid children and young people
Three and four year old children will, for the first time in Scotland, be entitled to 600 hours of funded early learning and childcare through the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill, published recently.
The Bill proposes a range of measures which also include:
Looked after two year olds and those with a kinship care order will receive the same entitlement as three and four year olds
A named person for every child and young person from birth to safeguard and support their wellbeing, working with other bodies as required
Providing kinship carers with more support from local authorities to increase family stability.
Minister for Children and Young People Aileen Campbell also announced an extra £10 million on top of the £20 million third sector fund to be shared between 45 organisations working closely with children, young people and families, as part of wider investment in prevention and early intervention. This lifts the total budget for the fund to £30 million over two years, an increase on the funding available over the previous two years.
Ms Campbell said:
“There is excellent work being done across Scotland to support parents, carers, children and young people. This Bill will improve levels of care and support to children and families across the country through an increase in free and more flexible early learning and childcare from 475 to 600 hours, as well as more joined up services to support the wellbeing of all children and young people through a named person. Further measures will also add stability to kinship care arrangements. The level of investment the Scottish Government is putting into ensuring the Bill works for Scotland’s young people also demonstrates our commitment to investing in our children from the very start.
“We must also recognise the important role of the third sector in reaching out to families and children in inventive and inspirational ways, which is why I am providing an additional £10 million on top of the Third Sector Early Intervention Fund for groups working directly with children, young people and their families. The £20 million Third Sector Early Intervention Fund captured the imagination of many key organisations that work with children and young people. This additional funding means that even more organisations will be able to work with the Scottish Government and each other, as they continue to improve the lives of Scotland’s children, young people and their families.
“Together with the publication of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill, today is the biggest step forward so far on the path towards making Scotland the best place in the world to grow up.”
Anne Houston, Chief Executive of CHILDREN 1ST, said:
“The Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill has a key role to play in achieving the Scottish Government’s ambition of making Scotland the best place for children to grow up. For CHILDREN 1ST, that means a place where every child and young person has a happy, healthy, safe and secure childhood. We support the Bill’s intentions and must all now maximise the opportunity before us to achieve the Scottish Government’s vision.
“We are heartened by the proposals to provide 600 hours of flexible early learning and childcare for children in kinship care aged two and to provide a statutory definition of well-being.”
Martin Crewe, Director of Barnardo's Scotland, said:
“Barnardo's Scotland is pleased to see the introduction of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill in Parliament. This Bill will be an important step forward in improving the lives of Scotland’s most vulnerable children and young people. We are particularly pleased to see more support for those young people leaving care, many of whom are not getting the help they need to make a successful transition into adulthood.
“We are looking forward to scrutinising the Bill and working with the Scottish Parliament to ensure that it delivers on the Scottish Government’s aim to make Scotland the best place in the world to bring up children.”
A 12 week consultation on the Bill was launched in July 2012 and was accompanied by extensive stakeholder communication, including national engagement events with over 800 stakeholders and activities with nearly 2,400 children and young people.
The Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill will also increase the powers of Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People as well as improving support for kinship carers, families and care leavers
Provisions relating to a ‘named person’ will:
Place a duty on NHS Boards to allocate every child with a named person from birth to school age
Place a duty on local authorities to allocate every child with a named person until they are 18 or leave school, whichever is later.
Oblige all relevant authorities to share information with the named person if it is necessary to safeguard, support and promote the wellbeing of the child.
The £10 million will go towards Strategic Funding Partnerships for children and youth organisations.
The Third Sector Early Intervention Fund is managed by the BIG Lottery on behalf of the Scottish Government.