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Supporting children and families

Published: 1 Dec 2015 16:00
Part of:
Education

Final draft guidance for Children and Young People Act published.

Final draft guidance to help local authorities and children's services support children and families in a consistent way has been published today.

The ground-breaking Children and Young People (Scotland) Act was passed by the Scottish Parliament in February 2014 and introduces key elements of the Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) approach into law. The guidance will help organisations deliver key parts of the Act:
• Children and young people will have access to a Named Person service – a single point of contact for help, support and advice for families and those working with children if they need it
• Children and young people who need extra support which is not generally available will have a Child's Plan
• Children, young people and families can expect services to work together to provide support and help
• Describing wellbeing in legislation for the first time to help make sure everyone uses the same terminology and approach

The final version of the guidance will be published in spring 2016 after secondary legislation has been approved by parliament. It is aimed at managers and leaders who will be responsible for delivering services such as the Named Person and Child's Plan.

Children's Minister Aileen Campbell said:

"This is an important milestone for everyone involved in children's services as we move towards August when the law comes into effect. We consulted widely on the contents of the guidance and took on board the feedback to make necessary changes. The final draft is the result of joint working with a range of organisations and stakeholders across both children's and adult services.

"The Act requires services to work together to put the needs of children, young people and families at the heart of everything they do and this guidance will help them do this so families can get the right support at the right time.

"We know that parents and carers are, with few exceptions, the best people to raise their children but sometimes they need or want some extra support. The provisions in the Act will improve access to services while maintaining parental rights and responsibilities."

Chief Superintendent Paul Main said:

"Police Scotland welcomes the publication of draft statutory guidance which sets out a clear direction in respect of the implementation of the CYP Act 2014. Police Scotland will continue to work closely with partners to develop the Named Person Service to ensure the effective management of well being concerns."

John Butcher, Association of Directors of Education in Scotland said:

"ADES welcomes the revised draft statutory guidance which we have working closely on with the Scottish Government to develop. The new law and guidance will improve the way services work to support children, young people and families and we welcome the flexible approach to the Named Person role and function that it offers. We will continue to work with the implementation team to minimise the bureaucracy perceived to come with the role."

Fiona Nicholson, co-Vice Chair at National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS) said:

"The NPFS supports the overall aims of Getting it Right for Every Child, and we have emphasised that Scottish Government should ensure that parents' views are sought, listened to and reflected in the final version of the guidance. It is essential that parents, children and young people are informed about the Act and what it means for them, using a variety of accessible formats that meet their needs. We are pleased that the guidance has received inputs from a range of stakeholders including parents and NPFS, and recognise that that Scottish Government has taken account of the feedback received during the consultation period.

"NPFS is aware that the draft guidance is not aimed at parents, children or young people and we look forward to working with SG to assist in the development of more appropriate material to more fully inform parents.

"In order for the GIRFEC provisions to achieve their aims and make a positive difference to families' lives, a key issue will be ensuring that professionals receive effective training and clear guidance. We look forward to sharing views on the practice guidelines which will be used by front-line staff, and helping to ensure Scottish Government keeps a family focus when implementing the Act."

Mike Burns, Convenor of Children and Families Standing Committee, Social Work Scotland said:

"Social Work Scotland are confident that Getting it Right For Every Child - and in particular the Named Person - presents a critical opportunity to "break the cycle" of poverty, disadvantage and poor life chances which characterises the lives of thousands of people in our society. We want to see more families supported earlier, in the way they want, before the need for acute interventions.

"The Named Person exists to help parents to get help if they need it - to promote parental rights and responsibilities, not infringe them. To make childhood in Scotland better, we need a change in culture, and we need a shared public service agenda which is focused around prevention, parenting and family support."

Notes to editors

The draft guidance can be found here: www.gov.scot/girfec

Case studies, and other information about the Named Person role can be found here: www.tinyurl.com/NamedPersonFacts

The Named Person will typically be a head teacher, guidance teacher or health visitor the family already knows who will act as a single point of contact to save families the trouble of having to re-tell their story to different services. The Named Person will not be a social worker.

In line with the current approach of health and education staff, the Named Person will offer advice and assistance when it's needed, but there is no obligation on parents or children to take up the offer of support. It does not change or overrule current child protection procedures and child protection services should be contacted immediately if a child is believed to be at risk of significant harm.

The GIRFEC approach is already improving outcomes for children and young people across Scotland. The policy has been tested and is already working well in several areas of Scotland where it has been rolled out – such as Highland, Edinburgh, Fife, Angus and South Ayrshire – but all parts of Scotland have been taking it forward positively.

The guidance is specifically aimed at those with statutory responsibility for implementing and operating the provisions of the Act. This is likely to include strategic leaders and senior operational managers in health boards and local authorities, the Scottish Prison Service and the bodies listed in schedules 2 and 3 to the Act, as well as proprietors and managers of independent and grant aided schools and secure accommodation units.