A message from Children’s Minister, Maree Todd:

“I’d like to warmly congratulate Children’s Parliament on 25 years of working to progress the rights of children.

Children’s Parliament shares the Scottish Government’s vision of a Scotland where children are recognised as citizens in their own right, where their human rights are embedded in all aspects of society; a Scotland where policy, law and decision-making take account of children’s rights and where all children have a voice and are empowered to be human rights defenders.

This year, we have taken great strides in progressing children’s rights.

The Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act 2019 came into force, removing the outdated defence of ‘reasonable chastisement’, giving children the same legal protection from assault that everyone else already has.

Scottish Government and other public bodies have been listening to Members of Children’s Parliament throughout the pandemic, using the How are you doing? survey and Corona Times Journals produced by children to inform our work. The Scottish Government worked with Young Scot and Children in Scotland to establish an Education Recovery Youth Panel so young learners can help shape Scotland’s education recovery from the impact of the pandemic.

A national advocacy service was launched to reinforce the rights of children involved in the Children’s Hearings system and to make sure their voices are heard.

The Children (Scotland) Act 2020 was agreed by the Parliament.  This will improve how the voice of children is heard in family court cases.

And we welcomed the start of recruitment of The Promise Oversight Board, which will oversee transformative change in the care system.

But perhaps the most significant development of the year was the introduction to Parliament of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill. The Bill will see Scotland leading the way across the UK by incorporating the UNCRC fully and directly as far as possible within the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

When passed, it will revolutionise the way in which we listen to children and take their rights into account. The Bill aims to ensure that children, young people and their families will experience public bodies acting consistently to uphold the rights of all children in Scotland. If they don’t, children, young people and their representatives will be able to use the courts to enforce their rights.

Children’s Parliament has named 2021 as the Year of Childhood – a celebration of childhood through the lens of children’s human rights. I wish the team well and look forward to a year where the focus remains firmly on children’s rights.”

Maree Todd
Minister for Children and Young People
Scottish Government

More information about the Year of Childhood can be found here.

Welcome to the Year of Childhood
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