Children 1st sends joint briefing to MSPs in advance of the debate on the Children (Scotland) Bill
Children 1st has sent a joint briefing to MSPs in advance of the Stage 1 debate on the Children (Scotland) Bill tomorrow.
The briefing was written in partnership with NSPCC Scotland, Scottish Women's Aid, Dr Fiona Morrison and Professor Kay Tisdall.
The Bill aims to ensure that family courts uphold and protect children's rights to be part of decisions that affect them and to have their best interests taken into account.
Children and families have told us that this doesn't always happen. Sometimes children feel that their voices aren't listened to and decisions are made that they do not understand or are not safe.
One mother said: "I have had such a horrendous experience with the courts I would never wish upon anybody or any child." She spoke of her frustration that her younger child (younger than 12) wanted to write to the Court or draw pictures to share his views but was not allowed to. She said: "If the court had listened to my child I do think things would have been different and his relationships would be different and probably a lot safer."
Our joint briefing is clear that the Bill as currently drafted does not yet comply with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. We are seeking support from MSPs to:
- Make sure it is clear that all children, even very young children, are capable of forming a view and should be listened to.
- Make sure that children can raise concerns or feedback about decisions that are made about them.
- Protect provisions for a nationally held register of Child Welfare Reporters.
- Make sure that children’s best interests are taken into account when their information is shared.
- Make sure that the Bill can be meaningfully implemented by providing adequate resources for the provisions.
You can read the full briefing on our policy pages.