Key recommendations for helping vulnerable children and young people in Scotland have been set out by an alliance of leading independent and third sector service providers ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections in May.
This includes more accessible and better resourced services for those children and young people with Additional Support Needs (ASN), ranging from earlier assessment and support, to providing greater training and employment opportunities. The Manifesto also calls for high quality, quickly accessible services for children and young people with mental health problems and a statutory right to independent advocacy services for those who are care experienced.
The Manifesto highlights the fact that over 153,000 children and young people in Scotland are classed as having ASN with this disproportionately affecting those from lower income families and areas of deprivation. It raises concerns that this is set against a background of Council cuts and that it is vital that their requirements are addressed if the educational attainment gap is to be closed.
Meanwhile, mental health problems are treated very much as the poor relation in comparison with physical health and the coalition is calling for an overhaul of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Research indicates that one in 10 children and young people have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem and 75 per cent of children and young people experiencing a mental health problem are thought to not access any treatment.
A lack of resources means that Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services are overstretched and unable to adequately address greatly increased demand, with a number of services failing to meet their 18 week target for referrals for initial assessment appointments.
The SCSC is in the process of engaging with all candidates and political parties to ensure the important issues highlighted in the Manifesto are heard and raising awareness with them of the need for much greater support for Scotland’s vulnerable children and young people.
A spokesperson for the SCSC said;
“The issues and recommendations highlighted in our 2016 Manifesto are areas which we have been campaigning on for a long time and it is vital that they are addressed if we are to give our vulnerable children and young people the best possible start in life. We hope that the next Scottish Government rises to the challenge and sets a target for Scotland to be one of the best places in the world for vulnerable children and young people to grow up in.”
Download our full copy of the Manifesto.
For further information please contact Alex Orr, Policy Adviser to the Scottish Children’s Services Coalition, on 0131 603 8996 or [email protected].
Notes to Editors
2. Members of the SCSC are:
Falkland House School: An independent school based in Fife that specialises in the education and care of boys who require support for learning. It was one of the first independent schools in Scotland to be awarded Autism Accreditation by the National Autistic Society and offers day, 39 week and 52 week placements.
Mindroom: A charity dedicated to creating awareness of all kinds of learning difficulties. Mindroom also provides one-to-one support to families and offer help advice and training to individuals and organisations who work with people with learning difficulties.
Spark of Genius: An independent organisation offering residential care, education, autism services, post-16 employability programmes and adult services throughout the UK. It enables children, young people and adults who need a variety of support to achieve their potential.
Who Cares? Scotland: A third sector organisation that provides independent advocacy and group work opportunities for care experienced children and young people. They also train those delivering care, the Government and other organisations in the realities of growing up in care from the perspectives of children and young people. Who Cares? Scotland has been work with children and young people for over 35 years and uses this experience to campaign, lobby and speak out on behalf of care experienced children and young people across Scotland.
Young Foundations: An independent organisation specialising in the care of children and young people with a range of complex needs. The aim of our Scottish service is to care, support, develop and empower young people with complex difficulties to realise their potential in a safe, secure and nurturing environment. This is achieved through a holistic model of care which is distinctive of compassion, skill and evidence based positive interventions.
Kindred: A voluntary organisation that provides information, advocacy and emotional support to parents/carers of children and young people with additional support needs.
Action for Sick Children Scotland (ASCS): A Scottish charity working on behalf of ALL sick children and young people within our healthcare system, and for the best quality healthcare for children and young people in Scotland. It aims to enable children and young people to exercise their rights to healthcare, to have these rights upheld and their healthcare needs met, in partnership with families and professionals. ASCS does this through its projects working with children and families and by providing support, advice and information on children and young people’s healthcare.
Further information on the SCSC can be found at www.thescsc.org.uk.