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Administrator (Maternity Cover)

Clan Childlaw

  • Full time (35 hours a week) However - we will consider applications from candidates seeking to work upwards of 28 hours.
  • £22,360 -  £26,000
  • Glasgow (hybrid working available) with occasional travel

Our administrators play an important role within Clan. They cover a broad range of administrative duties that support the day-to-day operations of the organisation and continually seek opportunities to ensure that everything runs effectively and efficiently.

Click here to find out more and download the full job description.

Closing date: 5pm on Monday 13 May 2024

Interviews: We expect interviews to take place week commencing 20 May 2024.

About the role

Click here to find out more about the role and download the job description.

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Clan Childlaw

Please click here to visit the Clan Childlaw website

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Annual Conference 2024

Join us on 29 & 30 May at Scottish Gas Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh

Click here to book

Participation and engagement work

Find out more about how we embed the inclusion and participation of children and young people in our work

Click here for more

Why child healthy weight matters

With rates of overweight and obesity in children continuing to rise over the past five years, Obesity Action Scotland are campaigning to change the trajectory. Ahead of presenting a workshop at our annual conference, Interim Programme Lead, Jennifer Forsyth, examines what needs to be done to deliver a healthy weight childhood for all children.

Child healthy weight matters. It’s a clear message but sadly it’s not the reality for many children living in Scotland today. Rates of overweight and obesity in children are continuing to rise. The latest data paints a stark picture. A third of children aged 2-15 are at risk of overweight and obesity, and 18% are at risk of obesity. And these outcomes aren’t experienced equally. There are clear links to poverty and deprivation. Children in the most deprived fifth of the population, by SIMD quintile, are more than twice as likely to be at risk of overweight and obesity than their least deprived peers.

This matters because children at risk of obesity are much more likely to have obesity as adults. Obesity in childhood also has a profound impact on children’s physical and mental health and wellbeing, which impacts on the ability of children to live happy and healthy lives.

In 2018, the Scottish Government published their Diet and Healthy Weight Delivery Plan (click here for more) which outlined a commitment to halve childhood obesity by 2030, but more than five years on, we’re heading in completely the wrong direction.

So, what are the reasons for this trajectory?

There are of course many reasons, but three of the main ones are price, availability, and marketing and advertising of unhealthy food. We know that healthy food costs up to twice as much as unhealthy food, and the most deprived fifth of households need to spend half of their disposable incomes on food to meet the Government recommended healthy diet, compared to just 11% of disposable income in least deprived fifth.

Unhealthy food is more heavily promoted than healthier alternatives, and these promotions often lead to impulse purchases that consumers didn’t intend to make. Alongside such promotions, there is clear evidence of clustering of unhealthy food outlets in more deprived areas. This creates so called ‘food desserts’ where there is limited availability of healthy food.

And this unhealthy food is heavily marketed and advertised. This advertising is everywhere, on television, online and in public spaces, and is of particular relevance to children, as we know children are strongly influenced by this advertising and marketing activity. Exposure to unhealthy food advertising can lead to increased overall calorie intake in children and results in a higher chance of them preferring the advertised product when making food choices.

A healthy diet is simply unaffordable and not available for many families, and this is contributing to growing levels of overweight and obesity in children.

So, what can be done?

The good news is we know what works. Over the last year, Obesity Action Scotland has undertaken a range of activities to grow the evidence base to support what we know works.

We worked with researchers at the University of Glasgow to undertake an in-depth longitudinal analysis of the Growing Up in Scotland (GUS) survey (click here for more). The research and report used the GUS survey data and looked at weight outcomes at 3 points in childhood and adolescence – age 4, 10 and 14 to look at patterns over different age points and consider links with aspects of deprivation. The headline findings from the research indicate a strong relationship between obesity and deprivation – there are clear links between both living in a deprived area and household income with obesity, and the inequality experienced grows and widens as children get older.

Given the strong influence of advertising and marketing on children’s diets, we were keen to get first hand views from young people on their experiences. The Scottish Obesity Alliance (click here for more), which we’re the secretariat for, undertook a youth advocacy project with researchers from the University of Glasgow. Key findings from the project highlight that young people report they are exposed to high levels of unhealthy food marketing every day - they felt there was too much of it, and that food marketing regulations are needed to better protect young people. The title of the report (and accompanying short animation) ‘Adverts, adverts everywhere’ (click here for more) was actually a quote from one of the young people involved in the project and powerfully showcases the sheer scale of advertising and marketing young people are exposed to in their daily lives.

Since last summer, we’ve been running a campaign on child healthy weight. The aim is to raise awareness of the growing levels of childhood obesity, the significant health impact this is having, and the need for bold and urgent policy action. We launched the campaign in Scottish Parliament in June last year, where we gained the support of over 30 MSPs, and since then have been reaching out and engaging with a range of organisations to get their support. We recently submitted a joint letter (click here for more) signed by a wide range of organisations to the relevant Scottish Government ministers and await their response.

These activities highlight that if we want to deliver a healthy weight childhood for all children, we need to take a systemic approach to address the underlying causes of the growing levels of child obesity, namely poverty and the unhealthy food environment. We need politicians to take bold and urgent action to alter this trajectory, and to follow through with proposed evidence-based interventions we know work and will have a real impact. Child healthy weight matters. We now need the policy action to make it a reality for all children.

Interested in learning more? Obesity Action Scotland will be one of the 25 illuminating workshops taking place at our Annual Conference 2024. Click here to find out more and book your place. 

About the Author

Jennifer Forsyth is the Interim Programme Lead at Obesity Action Scotland

Click here for more

Annual Conference 2024

Join us on 29 & 30 May at Scottish Gas Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh

Click here to book

Participation and engagement work

Find out more about how we embed the inclusion and participation of children and young people in our work

Click here for more

Our membership offer

Be part of the largest national children's sector membership organisation in Scotland

Click here for more

Making research fun to include everybody’s voices

The Live Music and Mental Health project, delivered in partnership between Children in Scotland, University of Stirling and Scottish Ensemble, explored the barriers to children and young people engaging with live music and supported them to co-create solutions to enable better access to support their mental health and wellbeing. 

Last month, the findings from the project were published into a final report and here, University of Stirling’s Research Assistant, Louise Honeybul explains how the project’s multi-method research approach encouraged participants to feel comfortable contributing their ideas.

Ensuring everyone’s voice is heard and everyone can contribute is an essential part of working alongside children and young people. When designing evaluation tools, it’s important to make sure that everyone feels confident and supported to share their thoughts, and that providing feedback is easy and accessible.

Between May and October last year, the Live Music and Mental Health project heard from children and young people in Inverness, Stirling and Glasgow about what makes it difficult for them to access live music events, and what they would like from a live music event in their community. The project was delivered in partnership with Children in Scotland, the University of Stirling and Scottish Ensemble and included live music performances alongside the co-creation activities.

As researchers, we wanted to know if the format of the workshops and the way they were delivered allowed everyone to contribute their ideas and feel comfortable sharing. We recognised that sometimes, talking about how you feel or expressing negative feelings can sometimes be challenging, especially in new spaces with people you don’t know very well. Taking this into consideration, we devised a range of ways to collect evaluation feedback from children and young people using fun and creative methods.

Firstly, it felt important that the researcher was embedded within the group. That sounds a little sneaky, it just meant that as the researcher across the three labs, I was there every day and took part in all the activities with participants as well as conducting the research. This allowed participants to get to know me, spend time with me, and hopefully feel comfortable enough to share their feedback with me. I didn’t want to be someone who swooped in at the end with a badge and a clipboard to interrupt the fun and collect data from everyone!

When we designed the evaluation methods, my colleague, Dr Lynne Gilmour, and I recognised that not every format for collecting feedback is going to work for everyone; some people like writing, some people prefer talking and sometimes people just want to have a little boogie! We decided that designing a range of different feedback methods would allow everyone to contribute their thoughts. During the workshops, I used three different ways to collect feedback; a graffiti wall, vox pop interviews and an interactive ‘this or that’ game.

The graffiti wall, a large piece of paper with some question prompts and lots of blank space for doodling, allowed participants to provide written feedback. The first round of questions were about favourite artists or instruments they’d like to play as introductory prompts, and questions related to the outcomes were added throughout the course of the workshop. Time was allocated for contributing to the wall, but also throughout the day children and young people often chose to add small notes, doodles and play games on the wall – it became a piece of living art and reflection on the labs over the two days.

I also took participants aside to ask questions about how they were finding the day, if they’d felt comfortable sharing their ideas and what they were enjoying or not enjoying so much. Interviews were kept short and conducted individually or in groups according to participant preferences. Vox pops have long been used in research and journalism, but with the proliferation of ‘on-the-street’ style interviews in video-based social media, this style was immediately familiar to the young people.

Finally, at the end of the day we played an interactive ‘this-or-that’ game which involved individuals moving down the room and choosing the ‘Yes’ side or the ‘No’ side. Again, we devised this as something fun and interactive (participants could walk, jog, or dance to their answer side) that was recognisable because of similar formats used on social media. Finishing each day with the game was a fun way to draw everything to a close.

Importantly, we made sure that the evaluation methods didn’t take up too much time for each person and were planned into the labs so they weren’t disruptive to the other activities. We also stressed that no one had to participate in the feedback collection, or could participate in only some of the activities, however we did manage to capture some form of data from every participant!

When conducting evaluations with children and young people, it’s important to offer a range of ways everyone can contribute feedback, and make them fun, accessible and engaging. Our evaluation resulted in some great feedback from participants which reflected how much they’d enjoyed the sessions and highlighted areas we can work on in the future when designing co-production activities.

Click here to read the Mental Health and Live Music Final Report 

You can find out more about the Live Music and Mental Health Project at our upcoming Annual Conference as the project team present the findings from their research as part of the workshop programme. To find out more, click here to visit the conference hub.

 

About the Author

Louise Honeybul is Research Assistant at the University of Stirling

Click here for more

Live Music and Mental Health

Read the full report sharing the findings from our Live Music and Mental Health Project

Read the report

Annual Conference 2024

Join us on 29 & 30 May at Scottish Gas Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh

Click here to book

Participation and engagement work

Find out more about how we embed the inclusion and participation of children and young people in our work

Click here for more

Our membership offer

Be part of the largest national children's sector membership organisation in Scotland

Click here for more

Preventing gambling harms for Scotland's young people

From loss of sleep and mental health issues to poor performance at school, the impacts of youth gambling are certainly cause for concern. With a focus on education and early prevention, Fast Forward is creating tools and techniques to help reduce gambling harms for Scotland’s young people. Fast Forward’s Programme Manager, Fran Howard, explains more:

Gambling harm is an increasingly common risk-taking behaviour among young people.  With the lines between gaming and gambling style mechanics becoming more and more blurred young people are at risk of experiencing a myriad of hidden harm.  From loss of sleep, impact on mental health, poor attainment or performance at school, the resulting harms can often be mistakenly attributed to other things in their lives.

Research has shown that 26% of 11–17-year-olds have spent their own money on gambling in the last 12 months and that 48% of young people 11-17 have participated in gambling at some point in their lives.  This harm is not limited to an unlucky few but in fact should be a risk consideration for all children and young people.

Fast Forward’s Scottish Gambling Education Hub was formed to meet an increasing need in Scotland; to raise awareness of, and prevent gambling harms for Scotland’s young people, and any adult in their lives.

We recently released our 2024 Gambling Education Toolkit, our flagship resource to support anyone who works with children, young people and families to incorporate gambling harm and prevention into their work.

It provides information and resources to support anyone to address youth gambling and gambling harms, and the connection between gambling and gaming.  It is designed to be used in universal or targeted education settings by promoting an engaging and interactive approach.  We have provided a range of activities and session plans that can be adapted for both formal and informal settings, a diverse range of ages, objectives, skills and competencies.

The materials have a strong focus on promoting awareness-raising, prevention and education.  We encourage anyone working with young people, families and communities to consider using the toolkit as it offers valuable support on the topic.  Content can be selected to provide initial support, early-intervention and harm reduction for young people and families that might already be engaging in gambling activities, as well as those who do not currently participate.  We encourage anyone working with young people, families and communities to consider using the toolkit as it offers valuable support on the topic, as well as signposting to organisations that can help with harm.

In this edition, we delve more into emerging trends around gambling such as the rise in cryptocurrency and address evidence of legacy on harm on individuals, communities and future generations.

We have some new activities around the cost of living and gambling harm (click here for more), how the gambling industry create psychologically informed environments (click here for more) to encourage continued gambling and an activity to help young people uncover harm reduction techniques to keep them safe.

We would love to hear from you if you decide to use our toolkit.  Any feedback is always appreciated! If you want to take your knowledge further we provide free workshops for young people, families and practitioners.  If you have any questions, please get in touch with myself at fran@fastforward.org.uk.

Click here to find out more about the work of Fast Forward

About the Author

Fran Howard is Programme Manager at Fast Forward

Click here for more

Annual Conference 2024

Join us on 29 & 30 May at Scottish Gas Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh

Click here to book

Participation and engagement work

Find out more about how we embed the inclusion and participation of children and young people in our work

Click here for more

Our services

We offer a range of services that provide support, advice and representation for children and families

Click here for more

Our membership offer

Be part of the largest national children's sector membership organisation in Scotland

Click here for more

New project supports children and young people to access the mental health benefits of live music

New research, published today (Thursday 21 March 2024), identifies ways more children and young people in Scotland can experience the mental health and wellbeing benefits of live music.

The Live Music and Mental Health project, delivered by Children in Scotland, Scottish Ensemble and the University of Stirling between May and October 2023, explored the barriers to children and young people engaging with live music and supported them to co-create solutions to enable better access to support their mental health and wellbeing. The findings from the project have been published in a new report today.

In a series of in-person workshops, referred to as Innovation Labs, in Inverness, Stirling and East Glasgow, over 90 attendees, including children and young people, youth workers, music professionals and mental health practitioners came together to experience a range of live music performances and activities. The groups engaged in more traditional audience experiences as well as interactive performances exploring mindfulness and physical space.

The project heard about the key barriers to engaging with live music experiences which included cost, transport, safety, and additional support needs.

The findings present new ideas for future live music interventions that could support children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Participants identified a range of different factors to improve access which included:

  • Free or heavily subsidised tickets
  • Youth-led programming or co-ordination of festivals and venues
  • Festivals for children and young people offering a range of music styles
  • Festivals and gigs for children and young people in their local areas
  • Free and/or specialist transport to and from venues
  • Safe and quiet spaces for young people at music events
  • Live streaming of live music events
  • Events that involved big names and emerging musicians
  • Family-friendly music activities during the day
  • Live music events that included opportunities for young people to get involved in music-making
  • Apps to support young people to connect with venues and live music events
  • Involvement of businesses from the local community.

The innovative project method, which followed an intergenerational, co-design approach, also provided important learning on how to overcome some of the challenges of this type of project work to ensure that all children and young people, regardless of their age, are treated as equal partners and feel empowered to share their views.

Musicians, music providers and venues are encouraged to use the findings from the report to support the planning or hosting of live music events. Children in Scotland, University of Stirling and Scottish Ensemble will now explore funding opportunities to turn some of the exciting project ideas contained in the report into reality.

 

David Mackay, Children in Scotland’s Head of Policy, Projects and Participation, said:

“Children and young people are experts in their own lives, and they have great ideas about how to improve their communities and the opportunities that are available to them. We know that there are rising rates of poor mental health and wellbeing among children and young people and it’s vital that they are involved in designing solutions to this problem.

“The Live Music and Mental Health Project provided an important platform for children and young people to share what’s important to them and work together with professionals to develop new approaches to supporting mental health and wellbeing. The report and findings will be of interest to anyone working on co-design projects with children and young people, and are particularly relevant for the arts and culture and mental health professionals.”

Stuart Burns, Scottish Ensemble’s Head of Artistic Planning, said:

“Collaboration is at the heart of what we do at Scottish Ensemble. The Live Music and Mental Health Project gave us an important opportunity to engage closely with children and young people as collaborators, so we as an arts organisation can better understand the interests and needs of young audiences.

“Live music is an interactive experience. Through the Innovation Labs we saw first hand the impact of live music on children and young people. The workshop format enabled the performers to actively engage with their audience, hearing in real time the impact of different approaches to performance on young people’s feelings and emotions.

“The project has helped us deepen our understanding of the important connection between audience and performer, and the barriers that audiences, in particular young audiences, face when accessing live music. We will use the findings of this report to investigate how best we can start to remove barriers children and young people face in accessing our work, and explore new ways of co-producing work with young people in the future.”

Dr Lynne Gilmour, University of Stirling, said:

“The Innovation Labs brought together lots of different people from diverse backgrounds, roles and age groups, and allowed young people to work with practitioners to come up with some brilliant ideas.

“We know that live music can be beneficial to children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing and now have some great co-produced ideas of how to deliver live music in a format that is more accessible and acceptable, not only to children and young people themselves, but also to those delivering events.

“It can be challenging for some adults and professionals to give equal power to the voices of young people and this project embraced some really creative methods to facilitate intergenerational co-production.”

Click here to read the full Live Music and Mental Health report

Live Music and Mental Health

Read the full report sharing the findings from our Live Music and Mental Health Project

Visit the website

Participation and Engagement

Find out more about how we embed the inclusion and participation of children and young people in our work

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Enquire

Find out more about Enquire, the national advice and information service for additional support for learning

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Reach

The website for young people offers advice and support on accessing their rights

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Young people’s experiences shaping the Covid-19 Inquiry

As examinations into the Covid-19 response currently take place across the UK, organisations are being encouraged to support young people (aged 18-25) to share their experiences and help shape recommendations for the future.

Yesterday (Tuesday 19 March), Children in Scotland’s Chief Executive, Dr Judith Turbyne, gave evidence at Day 26 of the Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry’s Health and Social Care Impact Hearings. Highlighting some of the many ways in which children and young people were impacted, Judith also emphasised how their experiences during the pandemic could have been improved if their views were considered from the beginning.

As examinations into the Covid-19 response currently take place across the UK, children and young people have opportunities to input and shape recommendations for what needs to be done for the country to be better prepared in the future.

Led by the independent and impartial UK Covid-19 Inquiry, Every Story Matters is one of the tools for sharing personal stories for anyone aged 18 and over. The campaign invites respondents to complete a short online form about their experience which will then be collated and analysed to provide anonymised evidence during the ongoing inquiries. With young people’s lives so uniquely affected by the pandemic, the Inquiry has stressed the importance of hearing their stories directly.

Organisations working with young people (aged 18-25) are being asked to support the Inquiry by sharing the opportunity to participate in the campaign. With the uniqueness and complexity of each individual experience, the Inquiry has created a number of resources to support participation (Click here for more).

Insights from Every Story Matters will be combined with bespoke research being conducted by independent research specialists, Verian, to ensure children and young people’s first-hand experiences shape the future of the Inquiry.

Children in Scotland’s Chief Executive, Dr Judith Turbyne said:

From talking to the children, young people, families and organisations we work with across Scotland, we have heard so many stories of the different and often difficult ways in which people were impacted by the pandemic.

“The evidence I presented from Children in Scotland at the Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry yesterday offers further insight into the experiences of children and young people during this time. However, to create a full picture of what happened and how the country can improve in the future, it is so important that we hear from children and young people directly.

“The UK Covid-19 Inquiry is creating safe and supportive opportunities for children and young people to participate in research and the more stories they receive, the richer the tapestry they can stitch together.”

Click here to find out more about ‘Every Story Matters’ and access the online form

Every Story Matters

Every Story Matters is an opportunity to help the UK Covid-19 Inquiry understand your experience of the pandemic.

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Participation and Engagement Work

Find out more about how we embed the inclusion and participation of children and young people in our work

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Our Services

We offer we offer a range of services that provide support, advice and representation for children and families

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An accessible new learning portal for the children’s sector launches

An accessible new online learning portal which aims to support practitioners working across children’s services in Scotland launches today (Monday 18 March 2024).

The portal was developed by The Open University (OU) in Scotland in partnership with Children in Scotland and sees the two organisations combining their shared expertise in education to support the upskilling of the children’s sector and help improve the lives of children and young people across Scotland.

Offering a wide range of free courses, the portal has been curated to help meet practitioners’ learning needs. Courses are focused in key skill areas including education in the early years, additional support needs and mental health and wellbeing. As well as professional development specific to children’s services, there are also courses in technology, leadership and equality, diversity and inclusion.

The courses have also been chosen to complement Children in Scotland’s comprehensive Learning Programme which includes in-person conferences and residentials, professional diplomas and online webinars (click here for more).

As a globally recognised leader in distanced learning, OU’s online resources offer practitioners the upmost flexibility meaning that each course can be started, paused and restarted again at any-time. Courses range from two to 24 hours and learning can be done in a place most convenient to students.

Simon Massey, Head of Engagement and Learning, Children in Scotland

“From today, we are delighted to invite practitioners to start exploring this new learning portal specifically created for the children’s sector. It has been fantastic working with the team at The Open University to create this exciting new tool. At Children in Scotland, we are committed to developing the children’s sector workforce and, listening to our members and partners, we know that often the time they can commit to professional development is limited. With the flexibility of the courses in this portal, it offers a high-quality and accessible learning tool for many people working across the sector. We hope you enjoy delving into the topics.”

Page Munro, Partnerships Manager, The Open University

“I’m delighted to share our new curated learning portal for practitioners working with children and young people. The Open University and Children in Scotland have worked together to create a fantastic resource for people working across the sector who are looking to gain new skills in a wide range of relevant areas.

 With a wide range of free Open University courses available, there will be something for everyone, no matter where you are in your career. The courses are delivered entirely online and can be completed flexibly in your own time, so they’re perfect for helping you upskill alongside your other work and life commitments. 

You’ll be able to access courses in key subject areas like mental health, early years, additional support needs, leadership and much more. We really hope you’ll find the portal a valuable resource for helping you develop in your career.”

Click here to start exploring the new learning portal

 

Our new learning portal with OU

Start exploring the wide-ranging courses on the new learning portal

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Learn with us

Explore our learning programme which includes in-person events and online training

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Children in Scotland's Annual Conference

Find out more about our flagship event at Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, on 29 & 30 May 2024.

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Enquire

Find out more about Enquire, the national advice and information service for additional support for learning

Visit the website

Reach

The website for young people offers advice and support on accessing their rights

Visit the website

The importance of youth participation for supporting families affected by imprisonment

With thousands of children in Scotland living with a parent in prison, Jazmine Bennett from Families Outside, the national charity working exclusively on behalf of families affected by imprisonment, highlights the importance of taking young people’s views seriously when making decisions that impact their lives.

At Families Outside, we recognise the importance of including children and young people in our work.

Scottish Government figures estimate that 20,000-27,000 children in Scotland have a parent in prison each year – more than those affected by divorce. The imprisonment of a household member is an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE)(Click here for more), which can mean that children and young people affected are more likely to develop serious mental and physical ill health and social well-being later in life, if they do not have access to the proper support.

Although the impact of imprisonment is widespread, this can have a particular effect during childhood. Children are more likely to be overlooked in decisions that affect them, like when a family member is remanded or sentenced to custody. When a mother goes to prison, only 5% of children stay in the family home which can have a huge impact. This is why it is vital that these relationships are considered in sentencing.

The Scottish Government’s Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) (Click here for more) principal places the child/young person and their family at the heart of any work to support them, promoting choice and full participation in decisions affecting them. Soon, this will be further legally enforced - with the incorporation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots law this summer. Article 12 of the UNCRC states that every child has the right to express their views, feelings and wishes in all matters affecting them, and to have their views considered and taken seriously. It is decision-makers' legal responsibility to ask children for their opinions so they can act in their best interests. Since a child’s first decision is not final, there should be multiple opportunities for a child to give their views. It’s important that we ask, and ask again.

In 2022, the “This is Me”: A Child Impact Assessment toolkit (Click here for more) was co-created by the Prison Reform Trust (Click here for more)alongside children and young people with lived experience of a parent in the criminal justice system. It aims to ensure children’s voices are heard so they get the support they need at the earliest opportunity by providing a framework through which practitioners can understand and support the unique circumstances of each individual. When children and young people are included in work and decisions affecting them, the detrimental impact of ACEs on their health and well-being are likely reduced.

On top of this, it is vital children and young people be included in wider work undertaken to influence change in society. At Families Outside, the families we support are experts in their own lives, at any age and stage of their journey, and we are better placed to support them when we know their wants and needs. This is something we never assume as families affected by imprisonment face different - and unique - challenges. Therefore, we are continually improving and growing our engagement model to include family members of all ages.

This summer, we are hosting a family event which has prioritised family involvement from the beginning. The planning process began with a survey to gather feedback and provide family members an opportunity to express interest in further involvement with planning. It’s important to us that children and young people are also included in this planning as we expect that their wants will not be the same as adults’. Children and young people have a right to be heard and it is important that this is upheld by voluntary and statutory organisations alike.

While it’s vital that children and young people affected by imprisonment participate in our work, it’s also important that other young people get involved with us. At Families Outside, we work to influence wider social change, alongside our direct support. We cannot do this without the support of those who may not be affected by imprisonment. Young people can find it challenging to navigate life when faced with the added pressures of financial concerns and housing instability. This is only compounded by the stigma associated with a family member’s imprisonment, making it difficult to talk about their situation and reach out for help. This stigma cannot be eliminated if those who are not affected by imprisonment do not also take steps to tackle it.

Pupils at Lenzie Academy in East Dunbartonshire chose to highlight the work of Families Outside as part of their Youth Philanthropy Initiative project (Click here for more), despite not being affected by imprisonment themselves. Since the final of the Initiative where they presented their video, we’ve been collaborating with the pupils to launch the video at an event in East Dunbartonshire. It is projects like these – where we work together united - that help combat stigma for families affected by imprisonment for good.

Click here to find out more about the work of Families Outside

About the author

Jazmine Bennett is Training & Events Coordinator at Families Outside

Visit the website

Participation and Engagement Work

Find out more about how we embed the inclusion and participation of children and young people in our work

Click here for more

Our services

We offer we offer a range of services that provide support, advice and representation for children and families

Click here for more

Our membership offer

Be part of the largest national children's sector membership organisation in Scotland

Click here for more

Creating a cohesive voice for the children's sector

The Children’s Sector Strategic and Policy Forum, coordinated by Children in Scotland, takes a proactive and evidence-based approach to improving children’s lives at a strategic and national level.

As we welcome 12 new members onto the Forum, our Chief Executive and Forum Chair, Judith Turbyne, reflects on the value of creating a cohesive voice for the sector and key priorities for the year ahead.

My first encounter with the Children’s Sector Strategic and Policy Forum was only a few weeks into the role of Chief Executive at Children in Scotland back in 2021. Stepping into the position of Chair so quickly into the job, I had those natural jitters going into my first meeting which were quickly overpowered by how impressed I felt at the calibre of the members that made up the Forum.

Importantly, it was great to see representatives from across the sector; organisations big and small, from a range of different backgrounds, statutory and non-statutory. This diversity remains important today. Despite that first meeting being nearly three years ago, I still maintain the optimism that I felt then at the impact that could be made from bringing such a great group of individuals together to address the important issues.

Today’s policy landscape is complex and with so much of it impacting children and young people, as well as so many different organisations feeding into it, it is so important to find ways of remaining on top of issues and not feeling overwhelmed by it all. The Forum’s ability to develop a shared understanding of what good policy and practice might look like, even if we don’t always agree on everything, is a key reason as to why it is such a valuable mechanism for the sector.

Passion is something that the children’s sector undoubtedly possesses in abundance and there are so many organisations working tirelessly to see change made for children, young people and families. I believe that it is so much easier to create progress on the key issues that we all agree need to be changed, when we speak as a clear, unified voice rather than from many, nuanced positions. The Forum, by bringing together representatives from different organisations to converse, debate and share experience, provides this essential collective voice that can create coherence and, in turn, influence policy.

Much of the work of the Forum is longer-term which allows us to get into the nitty gritty of issues and make a real impact on policy development, even if progress can sometimes feel slow. Recently, a focus area has been to push for a more sustainable funding landscape for many organisations working with children and young people. Much of the sector share the view that long-term solutions to this problem are required so that organisations are not spending valuable time scrabbling for survival instead of working with and for children and young people. Through the Forum’s efforts approaching the Scottish Government as a united group, we believe our voices have been heard and we’ve been able to influence thinking on this issue.

We have just welcomed 12 new members into the refreshed Forum and we now have 32 members altogether. With new members joining, we are feeling energised and looking ahead at what will be the important focus areas for us over the coming year. Undoubtably, there will be significant change ahead with the incorporation of the UNCRC into Scottish law and its provisions coming into force. We are also very aware of how overstretched the sector is and for that reason we will be really focused on prioritisation and tackling the issues where we can make most impact.

For the new members joining their first Forum meeting in March, I will be remembering how I felt back in 2021 and offering a warm welcome to the group. The Forum will meet four times throughout this year and, as well as meeting online, we hope to meet in-person for at least one of our meetings. As Chair of the Forum, I try to create an environment where people feel free to talk, where trust is built between members, and where everyone has the opportunity to feed in; whether we are meeting in-person or online.

Despite having clear agendas and focus areas, a wonderful thing about this group is that you don’t know what you might learn and where new information may be useful in the future. Some of the unexpected discussions that have taken place during a meeting have allowed me to make a connection or link up work in the future and that is such a valuable aspect of the Forum.

I’m sure many of the current or past Forum members agree that when their organisation first joined Children in Scotland membership, they did not feel confident enough to consider becoming part of the Forum, but they have gone on to play a key role in its work. If you are member reading this now, I hope you will remain open to contributing to the Forum when the time is right for you.

From a personal perspective, I have drawn so much inspiration from observing the collaboration within the Forum, as well as throughout the children’s services network more widely. We are so lucky to have a sector that is made up of such highly-skilled, committed and experienced individuals, it is something to be very proud of.

Click here to find out more about the Children’s Sector Strategic and Policy Forum

About the Author

Judith Turbyne is Chief Exeutive of Children in Scotland

Meet the Team

Strategic and Policy Forum

Read our information document to find out more about the Children's Sector Strategic and Policy Forum

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Membership

Be part of the largest national children's sector membership organisation in Scotland

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Our Manifesto

Outlines the policy changes we think needed to improve the lives of children, young people and families

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Strategic Plan

Explore Children in Scotland's Strategic Plan 2023-28

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Yopa extends support of Children in Scotland after a successful year of partnership working

Award-winning estate agency, Yopa, has extended its partnership with Children in Scotland, providing crucial support for children and young people across Scotland.

The partnership, which began in September 2022 for an initial six-month period, has gone from strength to strength and by the end of the next phase, Yopa will have supported Children in Scotland’s work for 18 months, helping the organisation to fund its young people’s advisory group, Changing our World (CoW). Comprising of members aged eight to 25, CoW ensures that young voices are part of national decision making campaigning on issues such as the incorporation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scot’s Law.

With an interest in improving children’s health and wellbeing in Scotland, Yopa has supported CoW’s recent work addressing the harms of vaping and the way it is marketed to young people. CoW members have had the opportunity to voice their concerns during ministerial meetings with Scottish Government and recently compiled an evidence paper on the use of vapes and other tobacco products in education settings. Both organisations welcome news of plans to ban single use vapes.

Sharing an appreciation for the value of community, Yopa has also sponsored key Children in Scotland events, including its annual conference, mental health conference and 30th anniversary reception. These events have brought together representatives from across the children’s sector to push forward progress in areas such as mental health and wellbeing, learning and inclusivity and children’s rights.

Verona Frankish, CEO of Yopa, said:

“The Yopa Scotland team works at the heart of our local communities, and many of us are parents too; we all want the best for our young people and the places they grow up in, and we're delighted to be able to support an organisation working for the same goal. Like Children in Scotland, we believe that every young person should have equal access to art, culture, education and opportunities, and live in a world free from discrimination.”

Simon Massey, Head of Engagement and Learning at Children in Scotland, said:

“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Yopa and to work with an organisation who shares our vision that all children in Scotland have an equal chance to flourish. Yopa’s contributions have already made an enormous difference to our work at such a critical time given the challenges children, young people and their families currently face in Scotland. We look forward to seeing the impact of Yopa’s support during this next stage of our partnership.”

Media Contact

Sophie Ward 
Senior Communications Officer
sward@childreninscotland.org.uk

Yopa

Award-winning estate agents supporting Children in Scotland.

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Changing our World

Supported by Yopa, Changing our World is our children and young people’s advisory group

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Membership

Find out about Children in Scotland membership

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Corporate Opportunities

Find out more about how your business can get involved and support our work

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Vaping Evidence Paper

An evidence paper from Changing our World, Children in Scotland's young people's advisory group.

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