Overview December 2016

Legislation

Smoking Prohibition (Children in Motor Vehicles) Bill

A new law banning smoking in vehicles carrying anyone under the age of 18 is due to come into force in Scotland on 5 December.

Anyone caught flouting the ban could face a fixed penalty of £100.

Read the BBC news story here

Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014

Implementation of the parts of the provisions of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 relating to GIRFEC and the Named Person has been delayed until August 2017, following the Supreme Court judgement which ruled that data sharing provisions were in breach of human rights.

In a statement to the Scottish parliament, the Scottish education secretary, John Swinney, said he hoped the scheme could be implemented by August 2017, twelve months after originally planned. Swinney said this would follow a period of “intense engagement” on necessary amendments, including with young people themselves.

Read the BBC news story here

Pregnancy and Parenthood in Young People Strategy

This Strategy sets out what actions are needed in order to tackle the cycle of deprivation associated with many cases of pregnancy in young people and provides extra support for young parents. The Strategy focuses on increasing the opportunities available to young people, to support their wellbeing and prosperity across the life course. It aims to help young people develop the appropriate knowledge, skills and confidence in making decisions around pregnancy and parenthood through a partnership approach between professionals and young people.

Consultations

A Blueprint for 2020: the expansion of early learning and childcare in Scotland

The Scottish Government is consulting on its plans to expand the free entitlement to 1140 hours per year by 2020. It looks at the key principles of Quality, Flexibility, Accessibility and Affordability. This consultation will help support the development of these policy approaches.

The closing date for consultation responses is 9 January 2017.

Empowering teachers, parents and communities to achieve excellence and equity in education

This governance review seeks views on how education in Scotland is run, including who should take decisions in relation to the education of children and young people, and how funding can be made fairer. It also asks about the support teachers and practitioners need to do their jobs well and how this can be improved.

This consultation is open until 6 January 2017

New Health and Social Care Standards

Following on from the consultation of the National Care Standards in 2014, the next phase of the National Care Standards Review is to develop a set of Standards linked to the overarching Principles which were approved by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport in February 2016.

This consultation is open until 22 January 2017

Resources

Supporting Parents with Learning Disabilities in Scotland

A new report, commissioned by SCLD on behalf of the Scottish Government, has been published and is available for free download on the SCLD website. The report puts the spotlight on the services that are available for people with learning disabilities who become parents.

The 2016 State of Children’s Rights report is now published

Together launched its new report, State of Children’s Rights 2016, looking at the UN’s report on children’s rights in Scotland and how Scotland is performing. It considers whether enough is being done to fulfil the human rights of children living in Scotland. Specifically, it provides a non-government perspective on the extent to which children in Scotland are able to enjoy the human rights enshrined in the UNCRC. The report is available online and can be accessed here.

Kinship Care briefing

Recent legislation has made adjustments to the legal framework for kinship care, and new regulations set out new forms of assistance and allowances. This briefing provides an overview of kinship care. It uses Census information and Scottish Government statistics to estimate the numbers of ‘looked after’ and ‘non-looked after’ children in kinship care. It sets out the different requirements for local authority assistance and briefly looks at the effect this has on social security benefits.

News

Baby boxes

A pilot of the baby box scheme will be launched from January 2017 in Clackmannanshire and Orkney. Full roll-out throughout Scotland will take place in late June.

Read the BBC news article here

‘Lost generation’ warning over children with support needs

Scotland faces a 'lost generation' of children with additional support needs (ASN) if funding cuts continue, a network of support groups has claimed. The Scottish Children's Services Coalition said the number of pupils with ASN had increased by more than 16% since 2013. The group warned a lack of action would make closing the educational attainment gap "extremely challenging".

Read the BBC news article here 

MSPs to consider enquiry into armed forces schools visits

MSPs will consider holding an inquiry into visits by the armed forces to Scottish schools amid concerns young people from deprived backgrounds are being targeted for military recruitment. James Dornan, the convener of Holyrood’s education committee, said he would examine the case for an investigation following a petition raised by the Quakers in Scotland and the ForcesWatch campaign group.

Read the article in The National

New website for children and young people with Additional Support Needs

Enquire has launched a new website to help young people understand how they can get the support they need at school. 

Life issues covered on the website include being bullied; changing and leaving school; struggling with difficulties at home; feeling low or anxious; finding it hard to take part at school; being care experienced; and many more.  

Scotland’s early years minister announces free childcare trials

Scotland’s childcare minister has announced Edinburgh, Aberdeen and the Scottish Borders will begin trialing the Government’s free childcare offer for three and four-year-olds from January 2017.