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“We must not lose sight of our collective goal”

Marking her first anniversary as our Chief Executive, in the first of a two-part blog Jude Turbyne takes stock of how poverty is impacting on families now – and why working in the children’s sector gives her hope 

I have now been with Children in Scotland for just over a year. It has been a fulfilling time, during which my admiration for my colleagues within the organisation and across the children’s sector has been strengthened. So, I feel I should be celebrating but, rather, I find myself a bit gloomy.

I came into post during the pandemic. At the start of 2022, it felt as if we might be on a more positive journey away from Covid, and that we could start to build actively on the learning from the previous two years. There was a sense of hope that we could step out of crisis mode and settle into a new positive rhythm. However, we have moved from that phase into one where the external environment is increasingly hostile.

Crisis impacts

There have been a lot of insightful pieces written over the past few months highlighting how the cost-of-living crisis is having a devastating impact on families that are already vulnerable and illustrating how many other children, young people and families are sliding inexorably towards poverty.

Citizen’s Advice Scotland, for instance, estimates that one in 10 people in Scotland currently have nothing left after covering the essentials. A Save the Children briefing clearly illustrates the way in which stagnating incomes coupled with the massive hike in costs is likely to have a serious impact on families.

The Living Without a Lifeline report just published by One Parent Families Scotland shows the impact the crisis was already having on single parent families and the cloud of deep anxiety that many families are currently living under. The Scottish Government estimates that one million households across Scotland will be living in fuel poverty.

An unacceptable choice facing families

Action is needed. We had awaited with interest the Westminster emergency fiscal event last week. However, as outlined in the joint statement by the Children’s Commissioners for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, this did not result in the targeted action required to support the children, young people and their families who are facing this winter with inadequate resources and increasing anxieties.

Rather it focused its policies on those who already have more than enough, believing that somehow their wealth would magically trickle down to families and young people living in vulnerable situations. It is simply not acceptable that there will be families this winter that are having to make a choice between food and heat.

We will push for better responses to the immediate crisis, but we must never lose sight of the ultimate goal, which is creating a more resilient Scotland, where our children, young people and families are lifted out of poverty and are not in danger of slipping back.

Welcoming the Child Payment increase

That is why the announcement of the raising of the Child Payment to £25 in November is particularly welcome: the evidence already shows that this payment has the potential to impact on child poverty rates. We need more measures like this that will support systemic change.

Last week we held a timely Children Sector Strategic and Policy Forum where leaders across the sector took stock of the situation. It is important that we invest in the right things. We know that money is tight in all sectors and so we need to prioritise those actions that will have the biggest, sustainable impact.

We are currently processing all the different announcements that have come out from Government in Scotland and Westminster, digging into the complexities of the situation now, and seeking to develop clear policy approaches that can have a real and sustainable impact for Scotland’s families. We will continue to reflect and write about our approach as we develop these collective responses.

Pushing for change

I started saying that I felt gloomy, and sometimes it is hard not to. But the children’s sector in Scotland is full of wonderful organisations and individuals that are committed to making Scotland a better place for our children and young people.

Putting our collective effort into pushing for and making the necessary changes can make a difference. And, that does, indeed, give me hope.


About the author

Our CEO Jude Turbyne has worked for a number of charities and in the development sector

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2021-26 Manifesto

Our Manifesto includes calls on challenging and reducing child poverty, supported by expert partner organisations

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Strategic Forum

The Forum takes an evidence-based approach to improving children’s lives at national level

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Our values

Our organisational values guide our work and activities

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News: Learning hub launched to help tackle inequality

Posted 05 July, 2022 by Jennifer Drummond

A new learning hub aims to help public services professionals improve their skills and day-to-day working practices in order to take more action to reduce inequalities.

The Virtual Learning Environment, launched last week by Public Health Scotland, provides practice improvement support for making services inclusive, and strengthening partnership working and community advocacy.

Designed for those who provide essential and emergency public services including police, fire and rescue services, and health, social care, education, housing across all sectors, individuals can select sections most relevant to their learning needs and source information about how to integrate actions into their daily work.

It focuses on three broad areas:

  • Making services inclusive for all
  • Effective partnership working to reduce inequalities
  • Advocacy to reduce inequalities.

Vicky Bibby, Director of Strategic Planning and Performance at Public Health Scotland said:

“Understanding the necessity of addressing inequalities in our community is important; having the tools and support to put this into practice is vital.

“This new resource has been specifically developed to offer practical guidance, methods and frameworks to help those in public service roles reduce inequalities in the services they provide.”

The hub is hosted on the Public Health Scotland website.

Click here to find out more and access the hub

Greyscale headshot of a woman smiling at the camera, on a white background.

Q&A with Susie Heywood: Tackling gender stereotypes

Posted 28 June, 2022 by Jennifer Drummond

Ahead of her webinar in July, Susie reflects on how gender and public health issues are intrinsically linked and the importance of counter-balancing harmful societal stereotypes

For the past four years Susie Heywood has committed to developing an approach to tackle gender inequality across Scotland. Along with Barbara Adzajlic, she created and delivered the acclaimed Gender Friendly Nursery programme for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, designed to improve gender equality and raise awareness of the harmful impacts of gender stereotypes from a public health perspective.

To build on its success, she launched the new Gender Friendly Scotland website and will shortly be publishing a book on the topic of gender stereotypes in the early years.

Here, she shares the importance of recognising the long-term, harmful impact of gender stereotyping on physical, emotional and mental wellbeing and why it’s so crucial for early years professionals to help change the narrative.

You are a firm believer that many of the public health issues we face are rooted in gender inequality and that challenging the narrative will help progress change. Can you tell me more? 

Both Barbara and I have a professional background in public health which is why we make these links. We know that gender inequality is a root cause of violence against women and girls and that the stereotype of the strong, tough, self-sufficient man, which starts early with messages like “boys don’t cry” plays a role in the elevated rates of suicide that we see amongst men compared with women.

We know that the drip feed of messages to girls around the importance of their appearance leads to issues around self-esteem, participation in sports, body image and disordered eating.

Other areas like poverty, educational attainment, career destinations, mental health and others are all relevant to these gendered ideas and pressures too.

It can be argued there has been a significant shift in understanding over the last decade and more willingness to challenge standing stereotypes and change the narrative, evidenced in the work you do and through national movements and campaigns such as Let Toys be Toys and Let Clothes by Clothes.  Is this your experience? Are we making progress?

I think we are making progress. The number of people who seem to be catching on to this agenda has certainly increased, and we have seen many early years settings really embrace the learning we have shared, so that’s really encouraging.

However,  these gendered attitudes and ideas are so ingrained that it’s going to take a while to really reach the cultural change that needs to happen – but I think we are seeing signs that we are on the right track.

It is of course important to remember that gender stereotypes are only one of many ways that children can be limited and put into boxes – as a society we still have a long way to go when it comes to things like racism, disability and neurodiversity for example.

The event you are running with us is entitled Challenging Gender Stereotypes: How to change the narrative. What are you hoping those in attendance will take away from the session?

I hope they leave with an understanding of why it’s important that we challenge gender stereotypes, particularly with young children, as well as a sense of why doing this benefits everyone. This is not a siloed issue. Gender stereotypes don’t just impact one particular group in society, though they do affect us all in different ways.

Secondly, I hope that they feel equipped with ideas of how they can make a difference for children – by both reducing their exposure to gender stereotypes and by providing a counter-balance to the messages that society hammers home to us from birth about what it means to be a boy or a girl. At the end of the day this is all about ensuring that children aren’t limited by these messages – that they can dream big and free.

Susie will be leading the event Challenging gender stereotypes: how to change the narrative, held online on Tuesday 26 July.
Click here to find out more and book

Challenging Gender Stereotypes in the Early Years: Changing the Narrative by Susie Heywood and Barbara Adzajlic will be published in September 2022 by Routledge Education.

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News: More demanded from Holyrood to tackle cost of living crisis

Posted 17 June, 2022 by Jennifer Drummond

Charities and trade unions are demanding the Scottish Government does more to address the cost of living and ease the burden felt by thousands across the country.

A summit, being held today in Glasgow, is bringing together more than 40 civic organisations to develop a joint platform on how to tackle the crisis.

Led by the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) and the Poverty Alliance, the event is thought to be the largest of its kind in the country.

Roz Foyer, STUC General Secretary said:

“Poverty is a political choice. The pandemic has exposed the deep-rooted inequalities across Scotland, exacerbated by the cost of living crisis, not of workers’ choice or making.

“We cannot – and will not – be held responsible for the negligence of our political class to tackle rising inflaction coupled with falling wages.

“This summit, the largest seen in Scotland on this crisis, calls for the Scottish Government to go further, using the powers of the parliament to mitigate this emergency.”

Foyer also criticised the Government’s latest spending review highlighting the harmful impacts on those most impacted by the crisis.

Cost of living an ongoing issue

The summit comes as the cost of living continues to increase.

In April, the rate of inflation was 9% - the highest in nearly four decades. Meanwhile, energy prices are set to increase again in October, the second time in six months, according to industry regulator Ofgem.

Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance is calling for co-operation and collaboration in order to make real change when it comes to poverty. He said:

“By bringing together trade unions and voluntary and community groups, we want to build a movement that puts compassion and justice at the heart of public life, in our communities, in Holyrood and in Westminster.”

Find out more

Clare Simpson from Parenting Across Scotland (PaS) calls for renewed political will in tackling poverty in the latest issue of Insight.

Members can access Insight via the members area.
Not a member? Click here to find out how to access


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Q&A with James McEnaney: Scottish schools and the attainment gap

Posted 1 February 2022, by Jennifer Drummond

Ahead of his webinar for Children in Scotland, former teacher, journalist and author James McEnaney (pictured) spoke to Nina Joynson about the attainment gap and the impact of Covid-19 on education

In your latest book, Class Rules, you argue that 'closing the attainment gap' is little more than a slogan. Is specific change possible here, or is it about addressing wider issues?

It is little more than a slogan, certainly as far as the government has been concerned. Even on its own terms (and using data designed to make the government look as good as possible), there has been almost no progress whatsoever in closing the gaps in recent years.

The problem is that genuinely closing the attainment gap would mean taking radical action to address social inequality, but that’s hard. On the other hand, making promises you’re never going to keep is actually very easy.

We're now into a third academic year affected by Covid-19. Has the pandemic changed discussions of the attainment gap?

Yes and no. The 2020 results scandal in particular highlighted the long-standing issues with the exam system and gave us a really powerful insight into some of the ways in which our policy decisions exacerbate rather than mitigate the gaps between rich and poor. That sparked all sorts of brilliant discussions around how the exam system could be completely reformed to make it not just fairer, but also more reliable.

There’s no escaping the fact that poverty and deprivation will affect educational outcomes but that doesn’t mean that the system is powerless and, as a result, it is in fact possible to make things better. Unfortunately, the powers that be seem desperate to shut down these sorts of discussions and force us all back to their cosy status quo, which I believe would be a betrayal.

The attainment gap is a huge topic. What's the focus of the webinar going to be?

The session will be asking what we really mean by ‘the attainment gap’, how we define it, and whether all the rhetoric around ‘closing the gap’ is even possible.

We’ll consider the existing data on attainment gaps – such as Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence Levels (ACEL), exam results and positive destinations – what we have learned over the last couple of years (especially the 2020 results scandal) and ask to what extent schools are actually able to close gaps driven by powerful socio-economic factors, rather than educational failings.

Who would benefit from attending and taking part in this webinar?

I think anyone whose work involves the educational impacts of poverty and deprivation can benefit from understanding the scale and definitions of the ‘attainment gap’, as well as the limits of what schools can do to tackle it.

I often hear from such people that the narrative of the last few years has left them feeling like they are not doing enough or are letting young people down and that worries me.

We need a much more realistic view of what individuals and organisations can really do, and a discussion of how we might be able to work together to push the structural and systemic changes that are actually necessary.

Interview by Nina Joynson

Click here to read more about Class Rules: The Truth About Scottish Schools (Luath Press, 2021).

A full version of this interview first appeared in the Children in Scotland Learning Guide (Issue 2), published in January 2022. Click here to view and download the Guide.  


News: Report warns child poverty targets will be missed

Posted 25 January, 2022 by Jennifer Drummond

The Poverty and Inequality Commission has warned child poverty targets will be missed unless the scale and scope of action is increased.

In a report published today, experts from the Poverty and Inequality Commission say child poverty rates have been stagnant, and may be on the rise.

They call for the Scottish Government to take more action and increase investment or risk missing the interim targets outlined in the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017.

Missed targets

Recent figures show the rate of relative poverty, where a child lives in a household where income is less than 60% of the average household income, was at 24% between 2017-20. The interim target is 18%.

There is also concern for the long-term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on poverty and inequality, with low-income families likely to suffer the biggest and hardest consequences. This is alongside the increasing cost of living.

Speaking to Children in Scotland, Bill Scott, Chair of the Poverty and Inequality Commission said:

“The Commission is very worried that without urgent action right across Scottish Government the child poverty targets will be missed.

“Our concern is not just that a statutory commitment will fail to be met but that hundreds of thousands of Scots children will continue to be forced to experience the misery of poverty with all that means for their future health and life chances.

“If ending child poverty is a national mission then we need to see the significant increase in spending that investing in their future requires”.

‘No single policy will eradicate child poverty’

The Commission warns that child poverty should not be viewed in isolation, and calls on the Scottish Government to use all levers available to deliver action at a much greater scale and pace, and commit to significant investment.

It advises tackling child poverty needs to be a core consideration in the design and delivery of policies across all areas of government and urges for stronger leadership and accountability.

Report recommendations

Increasing income from work and social security and reducing housing costs are acknowledged as the primary levers for reducing child poverty.

Recommendations to the Scottish Government include:

  • Increasing the Scottish Child Payments beyond £20 per week
  • Utilising the Minimum Income Guarantee to help deliver on the 2030 child poverty targets
  • Maximising longer-term opportunities offered by Scottish devolved social security
  • Creating and encouraging ‘good jobs’ - secure, meaningful work with fair pay and conditions, adequate flexibility and opportunities for progression
  • Investment in childcare and transport infrastructure to reduce costs for working parents
  • Make the impact on child poverty a measure of housing policy success.

Advice on the Scottish Government's Child Poverty Delivery Plan 2022-26 was published by the Poverty and Inequality Commission on Tuesday 25 January.
Click here to read the full report

Judith Turbyne appointed as new Chief Executive of Children in Scotland

22 June 2021


Dr Judith Turbyne is to be the new Chief Executive of national charity Children in Scotland.

Currently a senior manager at the Scottish Charity Regulator, she will start in the post on 30 August 2021.

Judith said: I am delighted and excited to be taking up this wonderful appointment. I am passionate about challenging inequality and working for a more just society, and I will bring this passion to the role of Children in Scotland’s Chief Executive.

“It is a key moment for positive policy change for Scotland’s children and Children in Scotland is in a great position to play a very significant part in this over the coming years.

“I look forward to meeting and working with the staff, Board, members, partners and children that are so integral to the success of the organisation.”

Judith brings substantial experience of the charity sector to the role. Much of her professional life has focused on international development, working with charities challenging global poverty and inequality.

She worked in Latin America and the Caribbean, in local frontline organisations and with multinational funders, before moving to Dublin to become CEO of the international development organisation Progressio Ireland.

Judith joined the Scottish Charity Regulator as Head of Engagement in 2013 and is currently Deputy Chair of the Corra Foundation.

Welcoming her appointment, Maureen McGinn CBE, Convener of Children in Scotland’s Board, said:

"The Board of Directors of Children in Scotland is looking forward to welcoming Judith shortly into her new role. She brings us experience, clear vision and commitment to social justice.

"We are confident Judith will apply all her skills and talent to improve the lives of children and young people by listening to their voices and making sure these are heard, and working determinedly with our members, staff and stakeholders."

Judith will be Children in Scotland’s third Chief Executive, following Jackie Brock who held the post from 2012 until earlier this year, and Bronwen Cohen who led the charity for 19 years from its formation in 1993.

Media contact:
Chris Small,


About Dr Turbyne

Judith is currently a senior manager at the Scottish Charity Regulator

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Committed to rights and equality

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Our Board

Children in Scotland's Board provides strategic support for the organisation

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Our work

Our belief in the value of young people's participation is reflected in all our work

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Manifesto launches with calls for wellbeing to be at heart of Scottish budget and children protected from air pollution

13 November 2020

Children in Scotland today launches its Manifesto for the 2021-26 Scottish Parliament, backed by national and local organisations from across the children’s sector.

The Manifesto outlines key changes in policy and legislation the charity believes the next Scottish Government must make to improve outcomes for children and young people living in Scotland, and their families.

Click here to download a copy of the Manifesto

It contains 10 themes and 33 calls, with demands of political parties including:

Drawing on the experience in Finland to introduce a ‘hobby premium’ to ensure that all children and young people in Scotland have free access to a hobby or activity of their choice within or around the school day.

Rights and democracy
Supporting Citizens Assemblies to extend their scope to include the voice and perspectives of under-16s.

Economic planning
Producing a comprehensive Wellbeing Budget by 2022 to ensure that the annual Scottish budget is designed and implemented with the goal of improving the wellbeing of all citizens in Scotland, including children, young people and families.

Improving air quality in locations where children live, learn and play: a school air quality monitoring and education scheme should be introduced to measure air quality, educate children and families about this issue, and reduce children’s exposure to harmful pollutants.

Children in Scotland’s Chief Executive Jackie Brock said:

“Our Manifesto is being launched at the end of a punishing year for so many children and families, but we feel there’s a shared recognition that this is also a time for a radical change in direction for policymaking and legislation.

“We now need a deeper and more wholehearted restructuring of society, based on redistributing power to children, young people and families who’ve never had it before. Taken together the calls in this Manifesto make that case.”

Amy Woodhouse, the charity’s Head of Policy, Projects and Participation, said:

“This Manifesto builds on three examples of hugely significant policy change in Scotland over the past year – the recommendations of the Independent Care Review, the introduction of the Equal Protection Act, and the promise of full incorporation of the UNCRC.

“These are all powerful signs of the effectiveness of collective campaigning to make change for children, and we’ll be taking forward our 2021-26 Manifesto in that spirit.

“In the run-up to the election as we use this Manifesto to influence parties’ policy platforms, we will welcome the support and solidarity of other organisations who may wish to endorse our calls.”

Organisations who have already endorsed the Manifesto in full include Save the Children, Children 1st, YouthLink Scotland, Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights), PEEK (Possibilities for Each and Every Kid), Includem, Play Scotland, Starcatchers, the Health and Social Care Alliance and the Yard.

Organisations that have signed up to specific themes include the Children’s Parliament (Theme 1), Friends of the Earth Scotland (Theme 9), Place2Be (Themes 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 10) and the Royal Caledonian Education Trust (Themes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10).

The Manifesto was shared yesterday with Children in Scotland’s members, and attendees at the charity’s online annual conference.

It has been developed over the past 18 months with input from Children in Scotland’s members, its children and young people’s advisory group, and its staff and Board.

Media contacts

Chris Small:

Catherine Bromley:

Photography from the Manifesto is available to publish on request. Please contact Chris Small or Catherine Bromley.

2021-26 Manifesto: PDF version

Download a PDF booklet of the Manifesto to read our themes and calls

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2021-26 Manifesto: Page Suite version

Read our themes and calls on the Page Suite digital platform with 'flickable' pages

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2021-26 Manifesto: Young People's Version

A short, child-friendly version and summary of all our themes and calls

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Building Budgets for Children’s Wellbeing

Dr Katherine Trebeck's report informs many of our Manifesto themes

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Manifesto Magazine

Contributors from across the sector tell us why they're endorsing our Manifesto in this special edition

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A plan for renewal not simply recovery

Amy Woodhouse explains the approach we took to compiling the Manifesto

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Changing our World

Our young people's advisory group have been key to shaping the Manifesto

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UK Government Manifesto

In December 2019 we launched a children's manifesto for the new UK Government

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25 and Up: The ‘old normal’ meant acceptance of injustice for too many families. We can’t go back to it

9 October 2020

In a special blog for Challenge Poverty Week, Clare Simpson revisits her 25 Calls contribution, arguing that UNCRC incorporation and the work of the Care Review provide the scaffolding for change Scotland’s families need

Back in 2018 when we made our call for relationship-based whole family support (click to read), addressing the poverty blighting the lives of too many of Scotland’s families, the world was a very different place.

Things felt more hopeful. The Scottish Government had just announced its commitment to incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into domestic law. The Independent Care Review was at the beginning of its Journey towards its final Promise. The need for better support for families, along with the acknowledgement that this could not be done without tackling poverty, was really gaining traction. And perhaps most importantly, we weren’t living through a pandemic with all its consequent disruption of families’ lives.

Families have been thrust right to the forefront during the pandemic, their essential role suddenly visible and prominent where once it was just background. We thought we no longer had a village to raise our children. But we realised when they were taken away that family and friends, education and other services were that village and that without them families were left horribly exposed.

But families’ troubles were not due solely, or even mostly, due to the impact of the pandemic. Years of austerity had already created a society riven by inequalities. Too many families had been swept away by a rising tide of poverty and many more were teetering on the edge. A forthcoming report by Barnardos and the NSPCC, Challenges from the Frontline Revisited, puts the stark reality of life for too many families under the spotlight. The pandemic has highlighted what was already too many families’ everyday reality.

Pre-pandemic, one in four children in Scotland was already living in poverty. The numbers are predicted to rise. Many families were living in poverty regardless of whether they worked or not. Approximately four in 10 people were experiencing in-work poverty (Poverty in Scotland 2020, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, click to read). Insecure employment and zero-hour contracts left many at the mercy of unregulated employers while inadequate social security levels meant that those who were forced to resort to benefits were far from socially secure.

After lockdown, the number of working hours in Scotland fell sharply, with low-paid workers more likely to lose jobs and pay. Universal Credit claims doubled in the six months from March 2020 with areas with higher poverty rates pre-pandemic most significantly affected (JRF, 2020). While many were able to weather the storm and cut back on spending, those living in poverty, especially private renters and younger people, already spent the vast majority of their income on essentials and were unlikely to have savings to fall back on, according to the ONS.

It can’t be fair that some of us can take out a Netflix subscription and buy a comfort takeaway to make life easier during these COVID days, while others can’t afford to keep up rent payments and need to rely on foodbanks to feed themselves and their children.

The call that we made back in 2018 has become more important than ever. Relationship-based whole family support is essential to ensure that every family has the resources to ensure their children can thrive. When families are struggling to keep a roof over their heads, to pay bills and put meals on the table, inevitably mental health suffers, stress levels soar and bringing up children becomes so much more difficult. We need to talk about supporting families rather than about family support, working alongside families to make sure they are not cast adrift in a rising tide of poverty.

Article 27 of the UNCRC states “Every child has the right to a standard of living that meets their physical and social needs and supports their development. Governments must support families who cannot provide this.”

It is a beacon of hope and a mark of a civilised society that Scotland has committed to incorporating the UNCRC into domestic law. Properly resourced and used as a framework to support families, incorporation has the potential to be a gamechanger for families who, through no fault of their own, cannot provide an adequate standard of living for their children. Alongside the strong commitment made to supporting families in the Independent Care Review’s the Promise and its Ten Principles of family support, UNCRC incorporation provides the scaffolding for the change that Scotland’s families need.

But effecting that change will require proper resourcing and genuine cross-departmental working at national and local government levels. It will mean help with work and employability, more affordable homes and more income support for families.

It simply isn’t right that we leave so many families unable to provide for their children. We have to get this right for Scotland’s families. Please don’t let the new normal be the same as the old normal.

Clare Simpson is Manager of Parenting across Scotland

About the author

Clare Simpson is Manager of Parenting across Scotland

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Poverty in Scotland 2020

This report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation was published in October 2020

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25 Calls, 25 and Up

Find out more about our campaign in partnership with organisations across the sector

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"Whole-family support is needed"

Clare's 25 Calls campaign call focused on the need for meaningful support for families

Click to read

Incorporation 'to the max' welcome

Find out why we back full incorporation and read our consultation response

Click to read

Organisations from Shetland to Shettleston announced as successful applicants to Access to Childcare Fund

11 September 2020

Fifteen childcare providers from across Scotland have been announced as the successful applicants to the Access to Childcare Fund.

The fund, launched in July, is one feature of the Scottish Government’s Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan which focuses on tackling and reducing levels of child poverty in Scotland.

It recognises that the cost and availability of school age childcare round about the school day and during the holidays is often prohibitive for low income families and can limit opportunities for parents to work, train and learn.

The Fund aims to make childcare more accessible and affordable, particularly for children and families most affected by low incomes – unlocking improvements for both parents and their children.

The organisations will be supported by a total of £3 million by March 2022, and have committed to testing a range of approaches to increasing the availability and accessibility of their services and working together to share their learning across the range of children’s services.

The successful applicant organisations include Action for Children, which will be operating in Elgin; Flexible Childcare Services Scotland, offering provision in Dundee (Fintry) and Fraserburgh; Hame fae Hame Shetland; Inverclyde Council; Edinburgh’s Muirhouse Millennium Centre; SHIP, in Perth; and Wee Childcare, which is based in Angus (Kirriemuir).

In the Glasgow area, Stepping Stones (Possilpark); Indigo Childcare (Castlemilk); St Mirin’s Out of School Club; and Hope Amplified, which serves African families in the city, have all been successful.

Clyde Gateway’s provision, based in South Lanarkshire, and supERkids (East Renfrewshire), will also be receiving funds.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said:

“I’m pleased that we are supporting these innovative projects to make childcare more accessible and affordable for low income families.

“School age childcare is critical to enabling parents to enter and progress in employment, education or training – helping to increase household incomes.

“However, it is equally important for children themselves, with high quality childcare offering further opportunities to grow, learn and play. These projects, and the models they establish, will help shape the future of school age childcare in Scotland and progress our ambitions to eradicate child poverty.”

Children in Scotland CEO Jackie Brock said:

“The successful applicants to the Fund demonstrate the depth, quality and innovation of childcare provision across Scotland in 2020. These organisations have all seized the opportunity to test and adapt their services for the benefit of the children and families in their communities.

“Most importantly, the childcare provision that will be backed by this funding has a strong focus on supporting families who are often the most excluded from the benefit of high quality out of school and holiday services. This needs to change and the learning from the Fund could contribute to every child benefitting from such services.”

The successful organisations are:

Action for Children

Clyde Gateway

Flexible Childcare Services Scotland (funded in two locations)

Fuse Youth Café Shettleston

Hame fae Hame Shetland

Hope Amplified

The Indigo Childcare Group

Inverclyde Council

Muirhouse Millennium Centre

St Mirin's Out Of School Club

SHIP Perth

Stepping Stones for Families


The Wee Childcare Company

The Access to Childcare Fund is funded by the Scottish Government and managed by Children in Scotland.


Media contact:

Chris Small, 

Notes for editors 

Click here to read our news release about the launch of the fund

About Children in Scotland

Giving all children in Scotland an equal chance to flourish is at the heart of everything we do.

By bringing together a network of people working with and for children, alongside children and young people themselves, we offer a broad, balanced and independent voice. We create solutions, provide support and develop positive change across all areas affecting children in Scotland.

We do this by listening, gathering evidence, and applying and sharing our learning, while always working to uphold children’s rights. Our range of knowledge and expertise means we can provide trusted support on issues as diverse as the people we work with and the varied lives of children and families in Scotland.

For more information, click here to visit

Unlocking routes to affordable childcare

Launched in July, the fund is a key feature of the Child Poverty Deliver Plan

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Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan

The new fund addresses one of the actions highlighted in Every Child, Every Chance

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Out of School Care

The fund complements the Scottish Government’s draft Out of School Framework

Click to find out more

"Another generation can't go through this"

Earlier this year we commented on new child poverty statistics

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Our CHANGE project is working to develop a new and sustainable model for childcare in the East of Glasgow

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