We want to make Scotland the best place in the world for a child to grow up. Recognising, respecting and promoting the rights of children and young people is essential to achieving this.
We are taking steps to ensure that children experience their rights, as determined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), on a daily basis.
These steps include:
- implementing the UNCRC across Scotland and reporting on our progress to Parliament
- using the Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA) to ensure that our policies, measures and legislation protect and promote the wellbeing of children and young people
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) sets out the fundamental rights of all children and young people. The UK ratified the UNCRC in 1991.
We are using the UNCRC as a framework to ensure that we consider children's rights whenever we take decisions, and to help guarantee every child a good start in life with a safe, healthy and happy childhood.
It forms the basis of our national approach for supporting children, called Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC).
We have produced guidance to help children and young people understand the UNCRC.
Monitoring our progress
Our progress is monitored by the UNCRC through a regular reporting cycle, in which the UK has to respond to issues set out by the UN Committee. We have published our response to the UK's list of issues, submitted in March 2016 for a review in May 2016, and the UNCRC's concluding observations.
We set up the Scottish Children's Rights Implementation Monitoring Group (SCRIMG) in partnership with The Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland and Together (Scottish Alliance for Children's Rights) to discuss progress on implementing the UNCRC in Scotland and related issues.
From 1 April 2017, all public authorities must also report every three years on the steps they have taken under Part 3 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 to implement the UNCRC. The first reports are due in 2020.
The 2018 Ministerial report to the Scottish Parliament under Part 1 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 will report on progress achieved in relation to children's rights since 2015 and plans for the subsequent three-year period up to 2021.
Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA)
We designed the CRWIA approach to support Scottish Ministers in meeting their duties under Part 1 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 and in relation to the Articles of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
The CRWIA helps us to assess whether our policies, measures and legislation will realise children's rights and help protect and promote the wellbeing of children and young people.
The CRWIA can be undertaken as part of a joint impact assessment (alongside an Equality Impact Assessment, for example) provided that:
- there is cross-referencing of issues relevant to each impact assessment
- outputs are published separately
We have made the CRWIA approach available for public bodies and children's services to adapt for their own use. Guidance documents are below:
- When and how to best use the CRWIA: Guidance for Scottish Government officials
- CRWIA templates
- CRWIA: 20-minute training tool
- Example of a previous Scottish Government CRWIA: Carers (Scotland) Act 2015 - March 2016
For additional information: see the Children's rights legislation in Scotland - quick reference guide.
Involving children and young people
Annual cabinet meeting
We hold an annual cabinet meeting with children and young people. This was first held in February 2017 at Bute House. The event will support us in developing a more coordinated approach to engaging with children and young people at a national level.
Members of the Children's Parliament and the Scottish Youth Parliament attended the 2017 cabinet meeting. Issues raised included school and teachers, safety, bullying, childen's rights, mental health and Europe.
The second annual cabinet meeting with children and young people was held on 6 March 2018. You can read the agreed actions of the second annual meeting here.
Find also out more about the 2018 Cabinet meeting.
Year Of Young People 2018
Youth engagement allows young people in Scotland to participate and influence local and national activities and decisions. One example is the co-design work undertaken by children and young people towards the Year of Young People 2018. This work was supported by Children in Scotland, the Scottish Youth Parliament and Young Scot.
- Children's Rights team:
Tel: 0300 244 4000 (Central Enquiries Unit)
- Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) on Twitter: @GIRFEC
- The Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland
- Together (Scottish Alliance for Children's Rights)
- Scottish Human Rights Commission
- Children's Parliament
- Young Scot
- Scottish Youth Parliament
- Article 12 in Scotland
- Children in Scotland