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News: New Bill proposed to give legal right to transition support for disabled young people

Posted 21 September 2021 by Jennifer Drummond. Main image: Phil Wilkinson

New proposed legislation has been lodged with the Scottish Parliament to secure the statutory right to a transition plan from school to adulthood for every disabled child.

The proposed Disabled Children and Young People (Transition to Adulthood) Bill,  lodged by Labour MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy, calls for a statutory requirement on local authorities to develop a transitions plan for every young disabled person.

It also looks to introduce a Ministerial brief specifically to oversee and manage how transitions are supported.

Speaking after lodging the Bill, Ms Duncan-Glancy said:

“For too long, young disabled people have been let down. Their outcomes from school are far poorer than anyone else’s and that is not a situation we should allow to continue. The talent and potential of every disabled young person is undervalued and underused.

"That lets them down, and society down – we need to harness the potential in all of us if we’re to create a society where all children can grow up and have a fighting chance at realising their ambitions.

“This bill will help do that. By assigning a minister to oversee transitions, requiring, by law, a strategy and plan for every child’s transition from school to adulthood, we can be sure that no one falls through the cracks.

This will be the second time proposed legislation to better support transitions has been lodged in the Scottish Parliament.

In October 2019, a Members' Bill was introduced by Labour MSP Johann Lamont but fell in May 2020, at the end of the fifth parliamentary session.

The Disabled Children and Young People (Transition to Adulthood) Bill was announced on the same day BBC One Scotland aired the documentary Disclosure: On a Cliff Edge.

The 30-minute documentary film highlights the experiences of young disabled people as they move into adulthood. It features interviews with Children in Scotland’s Head of Inclusion, Sally Cavers, and former Inclusion Ambassador, Ciaran Buchanan.

Speaking in the documentary, Sally Cavers commends some local authorities for their innovative and positive practices, but highlights a need for a consistent approach that incorporation of this bill would address, and the absence of young people's participation in the planning process.

Click here to watch 'Disclosure: On a Cliff Edge' on the iPlayer, aired on BBC One (Scotland) at 8.30pm on Monday 20 September, 2021.