A report examined the financial circumstances of young carers in Scotland, and the impact of caring responsibilities on their opportunities in education, social development, and emotional well-being. It said that young carers and young adult carers experienced significant emotional and financial strain as a result of their caring responsibilities, did not have sufficient support and financial assistance during the transition from childhood to adulthood, and felt that their opportunities were limited by their caring responsibilities.
Source: A Costly Youth: The impact of caring on young people in Scotland, Scottish Youth Parliament
A report examined how welfare reform and austerity policies affected work with vulnerable families in Scotland. It said that more families were presenting to services with crises that arose from the cumulative effects of benefit sanctions, benefit delays, and price inflation, and that this also had an impact on pre-existing health and relationship difficulties. Services had reported an increase in complex cases, and a need to delay intensive family work in order first to stabilize home conditions and ensure that basic material needs were met. It said that resource limitations were leading to services focused on those with more severe needs and early years work, which meant that opportunities for early intervention and work with vulnerable teenagers may be missed. The report discussed the findings in the context of ongoing policy work in Scotland.
Source: Kirsty Scullin and Susan Galloway, Challenges from the Frontline: Supporting families with multiple adversities in a time of austerity, NSPCC Scotland/Barnardo's Scotland
A report examined the relationship between children's experience of pre-school provision and change in their social and cognitive development between ages 3 and 5, drawing on data from the Growing Up in Scotland study, combined with administrative data provided by the Care Inspectorate and Education Scotland. The project had examined differences in the characteristics of provision experienced by different children and whether, in particular, the quality of the provision influenced change in children's outcomes. Noting the variation in form and quality of provision, the report concluded that the evidence suggested that consistent and universal access to high quality pre-school provision would benefit children in terms of their vocabulary ability and social and behavioural development, thus helping to reduce socio-economic inequalities in such outcomes.
Source: Paul Bradshaw, Gemma Lewis, and Tracey Hughes, Growing Up in Scotland: Characteristics of pre-school provision and their association with child outcomes, Scottish Government
A report provided key findings from the Growing Up in Scotland study on the influences of family and school on children's social and emotional well-being. Drawing on data collected from mothers and children at age seven, it examined behavioural and emotional problems, and children's own perceptions of their life satisfaction. The report said that the findings indicated that children's social and emotional well-being was influenced by overlapping, but also distinct, sets of factors, and suggested that interventions to promote well-being could be based on both the family and school context.
Source: Alison Parkes, Helen Sweeting, and Daniel Wight, Growing Up in Scotland: Family and school influences on children's social and emotional well-being, Scottish Government
A report examined existing practice in Scotland regarding the review of child deaths. The report recommended that Scotland should introduce a national Child Death Review System to: review each death systematically in a multi-agency forum; collate a uniform data set to inform learning and policy development; and identify factors which might reduce preventable childhood deaths.
Source: Scottish Government Child Death Review Working Group, Child Death Review Report, Scottish Government
A report examined the 'common weal' – a vision for a better Scotland that called for equality, mutual working, and wealth shared in common – and what it could mean for children and young people in Scotland. It said that a combination of factors contributed to discrimination against children, and argued that Scotland should now organize itself around principles of social justice, which would require a change in how adults perceived children and childhood, young people and youth.
Source: John Davis, Louise Hill, Kay Tisdall, Liam Cairns, and Selwyn McCausland, Social Justice, the Common Weal and Young People in Scotland, The Jimmy Reid Foundation
The Scottish Government published a new youth work strategy and implementation plan.
Source: Our Ambitions for Improving The Life Chances of Young People in Scotland: National Youth Work Strategy 2014-2019, Scottish Government/YouthLink Scotland/Education Scotland
A report examined the relationship between disabled children and child protection practice in Scotland. It said that children with disabilities were more likely to be abused than their non-disabled peers, but abuse sometimes remained undetected. The report said there was both a lack of relevant training about child protection, and variability in the applied thresholds for action. It concluded that consideration needed to be given to how best to adapt practice, assessment, and intervention for children with a range of impairments, and that more needed to be done to ensure that their voices were heard and included within the formal system.
Source: Julie Taylor, Kirsten Stalker, Deborah Fry, and Alasdair Stewart, Disabled Children and Child Protection in Scotland: An investigation into the relationship between professional practice, child protection and disability, Scottish Government
The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 was given Royal assent. The Act provided for additional, funded early learning and childcare, for every child and young person to have a named person from birth responsible for safeguarding their well-being, for the extension of the upper age limit for young people leaving care, and for kinship carers to be provided with more support from local authorities.
Source: Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, Scottish Parliament, TSO
An article examined the significance that managers, practitioners, and young people attached to the notion of 'out of control' behaviour, and the exercise of control through the use of secure accommodation in Scotland. It said that managers focused on quantifying risk, practitioners on the factors that shaped the behaviour, and young people on the reasons for their unhappiness. The article argued that balanced responses to 'out of control' behaviour should be informed by an understanding of these multiple meanings, and should further involve young people in decision-making.
Source: Autumn Roesch-Marsh, '"Out of control": making sense of the behaviour of young people referred to secure accommodation', British Journal of Social Work, Volume 44 Number 2
A report provided a synthesis of the evidence from the evaluation of Family Nurse Partnerships in Scotland. This was a preventative programme that aimed to improve health, development and well-being outcomes for young first time mothers and their children through a structured programme of home visits delivered by specially trained Family Nurses. The report said that the evaluation had been unable to measure or demonstrate impact over and above that which might have been achieved through existing services, but there was evidence that the programme could achieve its intended long-term outcomes.
Source: Rachel Ormiston, Susan McConville, and Jacki Gordon, Evaluation of the Family Nurse Partnership Programme in NHS Lothian, Scotland: Summary of key learning and implications, Scottish Government
A study examined domestic abuse from the perspective of children and young people in Scotland, and considered their own solutions to improve help for children and young people, as well as their perspectives on their participation in policy-making.
Source: Claire Houghton, Voice Against Violence: Young people s experiences of domestic abuse policy-making in Scotland, PhD thesis, University of Warwick
An article examined vetting and barring policy for protecting children in England and Scotland from 1997 to 2010. Devolution had enabled differences to emerge within aspects of these policies: but it had had negligible impact on the overall policy agenda of risk management and preventive governance.
Source: Connie Smith, 'Preventing unsuitable individuals from working with children: vetting and barring policy and devolution', Social Policy and Society, Volume 13 Issue 1
The First Minister announced that free school meals would be available to all children in the first three years of primary school in Scotland, by January 2015. Also, free childcare places would become available for more families in receipt of a range of benefits, if Scotland became independent following the vote in September 2014.
Source: Scottish Parliament Debate 7 January 2014, columns 26122-23, Official Report, TSO