The Children and Young People Bill was introduced to Parliament on 17 April 2013. The Bill and accompanying documents have been published on the Scottish Parliament website:
The Bill will further the Scottish Government’s ambition for Scotland to be the best place to grow up in by putting children and young people at the heart of planning and services and ensuring their rights are respected across the public sector.
Both the consultation on the Bill and the continuing extensive engagement are playing a key role in shaping the detail of the Bill.
Rights of children and young people
To ensure that children’s rights properly influence the design and delivery of policies and services, the Bill will:
- Place a duty on the Scottish Ministers to keep under consideration and take steps to further the rights of children and young people, to promote and raise awareness and understanding of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), and to prepare reports describing this activity;
- Place a duty on the wider public sector to report on what they are doing to take forward realisation of the rights set out in the UNCRC; and
- Extend the powers of Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, so that this office will be able to undertake investigations in relation to individual children and young people.
Wellbeing and Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC)
To improve the way services work to support children, young people and families, the Bill will:
- Ensure that all children and young people from birth to 18 years old have access to a Named Person;
- Put in place a single planning process to support those children who require it;
- Place a definition of wellbeing in legislation; and
- Place duties on public bodies to coordinate the planning, design and delivery of services for children and young people with a focus on improving wellbeing outcomes, and report collectively on how they are improving those outcomes.
Early learning and childcare
To strengthen the role of early years support in children’s and families’ lives, the Bill will:
- Increase the amount and flexibility of free early learning and childcare from 475 hours a year to a minimum of 600 hours for 3 and 4 year olds, and 2 year olds who are, or have been at any time since turning 2, looked after or subject to a kinship care order.
Getting it right for looked after children
To ensure better permanence planning for looked after children, the Bill will:
- Provide for a clear definition of corporate parenting, and define the bodies to which it will apply;
- Place a duty on local authorities to assess a care leaver’s request for assistance up to and including the age of 25;
- Provide for additional support to be given to kinship carers in relation to their parenting role through the kinship care order and provide families in distress with access to appropriate family counselling; and
- Put Scotland’s Adoption Register on a statutory footing.
The Bill will also:
- Strengthen existing legislation that affects children and young people by creating a new right to appeal a local authority decision to place a child in secure accommodation, and by making procedural changes in the areas of children’s hearings support arrangements and school closures.