Prospective councillors called on to put children first

Children 1st is today calling on council candidates across the country to pledge to put children at the heart of their campaign commitments ahead of the upcoming May elections.

The charity has written to every council candidate in Scotland, to share their election manifesto, ‘Putting Children First’. Children 1st are asking council candidates to deliver three pledges to keep children and families safe, loved and well, by 2027:

  • Develop highly visible, easy to access, family resource and wellbeing spaces in every local community to offer families non-stigmatising, immediate emotional, practical, and financial support, delivered in partnership with the third sector.
  • Ensure that every GP, health visitor, and teacher can refer children and their families to support that strengthens their health and wellbeing without a waiting list.
  • Eliminate poverty as an excuse for taking children into care, by putting the development and delivery of local child poverty action reports at the top of your council’s agenda.

The charity says that if the pledges are delivered by every elected councillor, they can go a long way towards addressing the unprecedented challenges that children and families are facing.

The pledges have been shaped by the families that Children 1st work with across Scotland, who have told the charity that many services are unavailable, hard to find or difficult to engage.

As one parent said: “It takes a lot to ask for help, and then there is none.”

Mary Glasgow, chief executive of Children 1st, said: “These council elections are one of the most important of our times. The councillors elected this May will shape our post-COVID communities, and when they do, children and their families need to be at the heart of their decisions and actions.

“Scotland has an ambition to be the best place in the world for a child to grow up, but currently a quarter of our children live in poverty.

“Local authorities bear the statutory responsibility for child protection and family support, and their actions over this council term will either ensure Scotland’s ambition is realised or, will derail it entirely.

“Families must get the support they need before they reach crisis point, so that every child can grow up safe, loved and well in their own families.

“While local councillors can’t change things single-handedly, by putting children first, those who are elected this May have a unique opportunity to significantly change things for the better for a generation of children.”

You can read the full manifesto on the Children 1st website.