Putting Children first across Scotland
Children 1st’s ambition is for every child in Scotland to grow up safe, loved and well, with their family. But the challenges families face today are more acute than ever. In 2022/23 the enduring impact of COVID-19, coupled with the escalating cost-of-living crisis, stretched statutory services to their limits and thousands of children and families text deleted across Scotland have urgently needed our support.
I’m therefore proud to share that we have provided essential emotional, practical and financial support to over 20,200 children and families across 17 local authorities and through our five national services.: Children 1st Parentline, Children 1st Money Wellbeing Team, Bide Oot, the Safeguarders Panel Team, and Child Wellbeing and Protection in Sport.
With the cost-of-living crisis stretching many families to breaking point, financial advice from our Money Wellbeing Team has been essential this past year. Over the year the team have put a staggering £920,000 back into 627 families' pockets. For families like Joanna’s, whose story you can read here, that support has been “life-changing.” The Money Wellbeing team works alongside our family support teams and Children 1st Parentline to make sure that as well as meeting children’s most basic needs; to be fed, kept warm and have a bed to sleep in, we support families with the impact that money worries can have on mental health and general wellbeing.
But we are acutely aware that emotional well-being is not simply about money. The emotional health and wellbeing of Scotland’s children and young people continue to be a major concern. The pandemic may be over, but the impact is not. Two years of disruption and isolation have left their mark and will continue to impact many families for a long time. That is why we continue to work with partners across Scotland to sustain and develop services that will help in a variety of different ways – emotional, practical, and financial – for example through our family wellbeing service in East Renfrewshire and FitLike? Partnership in Aberdeen.
We also work to improve services and systems for every child and family in Scotland. Last month, we opened Scotland’s first Bairns Hoose, a safe space where children who have been victims of crime can be supported without being traumatised all over again by the justice process. In 2022-23 we supported 10,300 children and young people to stay safe from harm and to recover from trauma and abuse.
What we have achieved in 2022/2023 for children and families is a testament to the determination and hard work of our colleagues, volunteers, supporters, partners, funders and most importantly the children and families we work alongside. You can see more about what your support has helped us to achieve in our Impact Report. Thank you for all you have helped to achieve for children and families in Scotland in 2022/23. I look forward to continuing to work together to ensure that Children across Scotland are put first.