Speaking up for Scotland's children

We speak out on issues that affect children and their families and strive to change policy and practice for the better.

We engage with politicians in the UK and Scottish parliaments on laws that affect children and young people, providing written and oral evidence.

We respond to consultations undertaken to develop policy and practice, and share briefings with MPs and MSPs on key issues debated in Parliament.

And we work with other organisations to maximise our impact and bring about change.

2016 Scottish Parliamentary elections

Children 1st has published two manifestos in preparation for the 2016 Scottish Parliamentary election, which you can download below.  Our general manifesto specifies changes that we believe are necessary to ensure that every child and young person in Scotland has the best possible start in life, living free from abuse, neglect and violence.  And we have a manifesto highlighting changes we think are necessary in order for the needs of Scotland's kinship care families to be met in full.

We are asking Scotland's political parties to adopt the proposed changes in our manifestos into their own.

Children 1st manifesto for Scotland's children and families

Children 1st manifesto for kinship care families

Our priorities

Our current policy priorities include:

• Keeping children safe

• The impact of trauma

• Family support

• Physical punishment of children

• Children and the justice system

Influencing Bills and Acts

We also influence Bills and Acts. A Bill is a draft form of law, and after scrutiny from outside organisations and the Scottish Parliament, it becomes an Act. Recently we have been involved in influencing three major Bills:

• The Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill

• The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014

• The Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014

Once an Act is passed by parliament we work to influence the Scottish Government on guidance and secondary legislation - this sets out how the Act will work in practice. We do this to strengthen the impact of the legislation and ensure the best possible outcomes for the children and families we work with.