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SASW's reservations about Children & Young People Bill

The Scottish Association of Social Work (SASW – part of BASW) welcomed plans for a new responsibility on local authorities in Scotland to support care leavers until the age of 25, a measure contained in the Scottish Government’s Children & Young People Bill, published last month.

But SASW expressed concern at the potential for confusion in a separate proposal for a named person, such as a health worker, to be allocated to every child from birth “to safeguard and support their well-being”.

The Association also made clear its disappointment that ministers decided not to enshrine the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scottish law.

The headline policy within the legislation, published following months of consultation, centred on expanded funding for early learning and childcare for three and four-year-olds and looked-after two year-olds, up from 475 to 600 hours a year.

Announcing an extra £10 million to be shared between 45 organisations working closely with children, young people and families, the Minister for Children and Young People Aileen Campbell also unveiled plans for councils to increase support for kinship carers and to strengthen the role of the Children’s Commissioner.

SASW Manager Ruth Stark said: “We welcome the proposed duties of local authorities to support care leavers up to the age of 25 and the strengthening of the role of the Children’s Commissioner.

“But SASW has asked the Government to rethink its presentation of ‘the named person’ to avoid confusion with the ‘lead professional’ so that it has meaning for children and their families and does more than signify just another professional coming into their lives.

“Also, we are concerned that there has been a missed opportunity to build into Scottish law the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and there is concern about how far legislative change can really influence the required change in culture and practice for GIRFEC (Getting it Right for Every Child).”

The Bill will be considered in detail by the Scottish Parliament in the autumn ahead ofplanned implementation in 2015.