Policy update June 2020

The Scottish Government has issued an overall route map for coming out of lockdown; we are currently in phase one of that map and the Government hopes to move to phase 2 in mid June and to phase 3 in early July as long as the virus is contained.

At the moment, registered childminders and fully outdoor settings are able to operate, as well as settings providing critical childcare to keyworker families and vulnerable children. Guidance for childminders has already been published as well as for fully outdoor nurseries who were able to reopen from 3 June, as part of phase one.

The reopening guidance for ELC has now been published.

Guidance and timescales for informal childcare arrangements has not yet been confirmed but will be forthcoming soon.

There is information for parents about new ELC arrangements on ParentClub.

Free School Meals

The Scottish Government announced that it would extend Free School Meal provision over the school holiday period. However each local authority has been organising the distribution of Free School Meals differently, some through cash, others through vouchers and others with food provision. To find out more about the different approaches throughout Scotland read Professor Morag Treanor of the Poverty and Inequality Commission’s blog.

Children (Scotland) Bill

The Children (Scotland) Bill will change the law to improve the court process in contact and residence cases. Contact and residence cases decide the living and visiting arrangements for children. It also covers contact and residence cases of children when parents are no longer together. It also covers changes to aspects of the Children’s Hearings system.

The Bill completed Stage One on 27th May and the Stage One report can be found here. Stage Two will start shortly.

Equal Protection

The Children (Equal Protection from Assault (Scotland) Act 2019 will come into force on 6th November 2020. The Act includes a duty on Scottish Ministers to raise public awareness and understanding of the Act.

The Care Review

In February this year, the Care Review delivered its final reports The Scottish Government committed to full implementation of the reports’ recommendations and in May 2020 appointed Fiona Duncan, Chair of the Care Review, as Chair of  the Promise Oversight Board to ensure the recommendations are carried forward.

Parenting across Scotland welcomes the appointment of Fiona Duncan as Chair and looks forward to working with her to ensure that families are supported better to ensure that children can stay within their families where it’s safe for them to do so.

UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child)

The Scottish Government has confirmed its intention to introduce a Bill to incorporate the UNCRC into Scots Law in September 2020. Read how the UNCRC supports parents here.

The Scottish Government has published two documents on the steps it is taking to promote, protect and respect children’s human rights during the current pandemic. The reports were prepared in response to the statement by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in April which set out 11 recommendations on what governments should do to take a children’s rights-based approach to the crisis. Read more about this here.

Together is running a series of webinars on the UNCRC; you can find out more here.