New investment in family support announced for Scotland
The Scottish Government has today (7 September) announced investment of £500m in a new Whole Family Wellbeing Fund.
Announcing the funding in the new Programme for Government for 2021-22, the First Minister explained that this funding aims to enable the building of universal, holistic support services, to be available in communities across Scotland, giving families access to the help they need, where and when they need it. Support will be designed to help reduce the need for crisis intervention and contribute to improving people’s lives across a wide range of different areas, including but not limited to, child and adolescent mental health, child poverty, alcohol and drugs misuse and educational attainment.
The Family Wellbeing Fund will be informed by the work of the Family Support Delivery Group, which CELCIS is a member of. Welcoming the announcement, Claire Burns, Director (Acting) of CELCIS, said:
“The new Programme for Government rightly prioritises the needs of Scotland's children, young people and their families and carers. The new Family Wellbeing Fund commits investment in the support we know families need, what works for them, and how we realise The Promise. This investment is essential but not sufficient to ensure transformational change. It is only by working together in collaboration with people who have lived experience of care, and those working across public and voluntary services, that the investment can be truly impactful. Improving the lives of children and families depends on creating and securing the additional capacity, change expertise, leadership readiness and infrastructure that this type of change requires."
Amongst the measures to support children, young people and families, the Programme also sets out and confirms ongoing commitments to:
- work with local authorities to introduce a minimum national allowance for foster and kinship care, to improve consistency and transparency for children, their families and their carers
- continue work with the Kinship Care Collaborative to deliver national and local improvements to better support children living in kinship care
- introduce the new Care Experience Grant, a £200 annual payment over 10 years to young people with care experience between the age of 16 and 26
- work with The Promise Scotland to undertake a redesign of the Children’s Hearings System.
- publish a Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan 2022-26, backed by a further £50 million Tackling Child Poverty Fund
- provide a £520 payment for every child in receipt of free school meals, ahead of roll out of the Scottish Child Payment to under 16s
- roll out two significant new devolved benefits for disabled people – Child Disability Payment and Adult Disability Payment
- provide free school lunches for all primary school children, including provision in the school holidays for those who need it most
- provide £1 billion for the Scottish Attainment Challenge, including: a refresh to further empower headteachers, support education recovery plans, and improve outcomes for children and young people impacted by poverty; and £11.6 million Care Experienced Children and Young People Funding to be invested to support all care experienced children and young people aged up to 26
- provide recurring funding of £145.5 million to additional teachers and support assistants
- provide a digital device for every school-aged child
- take steps towards the introduction of a Bairns’ Hoose by 2025 to support child victims and witnesses with a child-friendly, trauma-informed centre in the justice system.
New legislation is also proposed including a National Care Service Bill to be introduced to the Scottish Parliament in 2022 and a Children’s Care and Justice Bill within the lifetime of this parliamentary session to support the transformation in criminal justice services for those under the age of 18.