Covid Recovery Strategy: For a fairer future - Children's Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment
CRWIA Stage 2
The CRWIA – key questions
1. Which UNCRC Articles are relevant to the policy/measure?
While more impacting will be done at the individual policy level, here are the articles we expect to impact upon positively at a high level:
Article 2 - Non-discrimination
Article 3 - Best interests of the child
Article 4 - Protection of rights
Article 6 - Life, survival and development
Article 12 - Respect for the views of the child
Article 19 - Protection from all forms of violence
Article 23 - Children with disabilities
Article 24 - Health and health services
Article 26 - Social security
Article 27 - Adequate standard of living
Article 28 - Right to education
2. What impact will the policy/measure will have on children's rights?
Children and young people of all ages have seen their rights affected by the pandemic in a number of important ways. Given children under one have spent all or most of their lives under restrictions, perinatal mothers have reported lower levels of socialisation and speech development than expected. They have had less guidance and support from health visitors and less access to developmental check-ups and other health services. Nursery-aged children did not receive Early Learning and Childcare during the original and Level 4 lockdowns unless their parents met certain criteria (e.g. keyworkers). School-aged children lost face-to-face teaching; this was particularly difficult for vulnerable children and children with additional support needs who lost valuable support as education services adjusted to restrictions. Vulnerable children may have experienced more abuse at home due to increased contact with perpetrators. Care-experienced young people have seen existing problems exacerbated due to the interruption in universal services, and the moving of care services online. Young people have also seen increased unemployment rates: the unemployment rate of 16-24 year olds increased by 3.6 percentage points to 12.5% over the year to Apr 2020 – Mar 2021, a bigger increase than any other age group.
The vision for the strategy is that, by working together, we will:
- Address the systemic inequalities made worse by Covid
- Make progress towards a wellbeing economy
- Accelerate inclusive person-centred public services.
To achieve this, we will focus on actions within three key outcomes to deliver:
- Financial security for low income families
- Wellbeing of Children and Young People
- Good, green jobs and fair work.
3. Will there be different impacts on different groups of children and young people?
The Strategy aims to improve the wellbeing of all children and young people in Scotland. It is underpinned by the Getting it Right for Every Child approach and desire for a person-centred recovery. In particular, it contains actions directed at the most disadvantaged children and young people, such as:
- Roll out the Scottish Child Payment to children under 16 by the end of 2022 and set out the route to doubling Scottish Child Payment to £20 per week. This will help children and young people from low-income families.
- Deliver actions in the Promise Plan 21-24, which will help children and young people in care.
- Implement the Young Persons Guarantee, which will help young people struggling to find work and experience develop their employability and skills.
4. If a negative impact is assessed for any area of rights or any group of children and young people, what options have you considered to modify the proposal, or mitigate the impact?
We envisage no negative impacts on the rights and wellbeing of any groups of children.
5. How will the policy/measure contribute to the wellbeing of children and young people in Scotland?
The wellbeing of children and young people has been impacted by the pandemic in a number of important ways, and the effects have cut across equality groups.
The surveys outlined in Section 7 below found consistently that girls and young women reported lower mental wellbeing than boys and young men. For example, For example, in the Lockdown Lowdown 2 survey of 11 – 25 year olds carried out between September and November 2020, male respondents were substantially more likely to agree that they felt good about their mental health & wellbeing (59%) than female respondents (34%).
The Lockdown Lowdown 2 survey also illustrates the trend of older young people generally reporting worse wellbeing than younger age categories. They reported lower physical and mental wellbeing; lower satisfaction with educational arrangements; lower percentages reporting good relationships with family and friends; lower levels of optimism about both current and future employment; and higher levels of concern about catching and transmitting Covid-19.
The first COVID-19 Early years resilience and impact survey (CEYRIS) of parents of children aged 2 to 7 carried out in June and July 2020 found some patterns by socioeconomic background. It found, for example, children in affluent households were more likely to be doing well psychologically and behaviourally during lockdown, to sleep through the night and to take part in home learning and outdoor physical activity frequently than children in less well-off households.
CEYRIS and Lockdown Lowdown 2 highlight that children with disabilities were more likely to have poorer wellbeing. In CEYRIS, parents of children with long-term health conditions reported worse behaviour and wellbeing – for example, they were more hyperactive, had more trouble sleeping and less ability to concentrate. In Lockdown Lowdown, young people with a disability or long term illness reported lower physical and mental wellbeing; lower satisfaction with educational arrangements; lower percentages reporting good relationships with family and friends; lower levels of optimism about both current and future employment; and higher levels of concern about catching and transmitting Covid-19.
Disabled children and their families also had to contend with a loss of support services during lockdown, which had negative impacts on wellbeing. In the beginning of the pandemic, there was limited attention paid to the rights of children with health conditions as education and care services were suddenly forced to adapt to new restrictions. Existing inequalities were exacerbated, such as unequal access to IT, varying levels of support and differences in family resources.
Similarly, work by Who Cares? Scotland[10, 11] illustrated issues faced by care-experienced young people. A large majority of participants said that their mental had become worse during the pandemic, and that they often felt worried, anxious, depressed and lonely.
Lockdown Lowdown 2 found young had worse wellbeing than other young people, such as lower physical and mental wellbeing; lower satisfaction with educational arrangements; lower percentages reporting good relationships with family and friends; lower levels of optimism about both current and future employment; and higher levels of concern about catching and transmitting Covid-19.
The Strategy sets out numerous actions to address the wellbeing of children and young people:
- Provide £15 million to local authorities in 2021-22 to deliver locally-based mental health and wellbeing support for children and young people.
- Work through the Children and Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing Joint Delivery Group co-chaired by Scottish Government and COSLA to better signpost and enhance the range of support available, including implementation of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and Neurodevelopmental Specifications.
- We will work together on mental health in schools digital resource, school counselling services and whole school approaches to mental health.
- We will continue to address the spectrum of mental health and wellbeing needs set out in the Mental Health Covid Transition and Recovery Plan.
6. How will the policy/measure give better or further effect to the implementation of the UNCRC in Scotland?
Further impacting work will be done at the individual policy level to examine how actions contained in the strategy give better or further effect to the implementation of the UNCRC.
7. What evidence have you used to inform your assessment? What does it tell you?
The following sources have informed the strategy:
- Experiences of vulnerable children, young people, and parents during the Covid-19 Pandemic (July 2021): Children and Families Analysis
- The impact of COVID-19 on children and families in Scotland (July 2021): CELSIS report on the pandemic's effects on children and young people
- CELCIS submission to the Scottish Parliament's Economy Energy and Fair Work Committee's Inquiry into COVID-19: Economic impact on Young People
- Towards a robust, resilient wellbeing economy for Scotland (Jun 2020): Report by the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery on Scotland's economic recovery. It includes recommendations on HE/FE, upskilling, apprenticeships and job guarantees
- If not now, when? - Social Renewal Advisory Board report (Jan 2021)
- Lockdown Lowdown survey (Jan 2021): survey of 11-26 year olds on their wellbeing and financial situations during lockdown
- COVID-19 Early Years Resilience and Impact Surveys (CEYRIS) (2020): surveys conducted by Public Health Scotland on the wellbeing of children aged 2 to 7 and their parents during lockdown
- TeenCovidLife Survey 2 (Feb 2021): University of Edinburgh survey of 12-17 year olds on their wellbeing during lockdown
- The impact of COVID-19 on children and young people - 10 to 17-year-olds (Mar 2021): Public Health Scotland publication
- 'Dropped in a Cave' (May 2021): Save the Children research report on vulnerable families during the pandemic
- 'In isolation, instead of school' (INISS): Vulnerable children's experiences of Covid-19 and effects on mental health and education (Oct 2020): University of Edinburgh report on vulnerable children during the pandemic
- Connect's digital survey (Feb 2021): Survey of children and young people on their access to technology
- The Cost of Learning in Lockdown – Scotland Findings (Mar 2021): Child Poverty Action Group Report
- Refugee, asylum seeking and Roma families during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Insights from frontline workers in Glasgow (Dec 2020): Report by Children's Neighbour Scotland
- The impact of COVID-19 on children with additional support needs and disabilities in Scotland (Jan 2021): University of Edinburgh report on disabled children's pandemic experiences
- The impact of COVID-19 – A year in the life of families raising disabled and seriously ill young children Scotland Findings (2021): Report by Family Fund on disabled children's pandemic experiences
- Lockdown and Beyond – A COVID Insights Report (Dec 2020): Report by Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs on vulnerable households during the pandemic
- Justice Analytical Services Coronavirus (COVID-19) Data Report (Apr 2021): Report on the pandemic's effect on the justice system
8. Have you consulted with relevant stakeholders?
The Covid Recovery Strategy draws on the views of key organisations in civil society, third sector, business community and trade unions. The Citizens' Assembly report details the views of a representative group of Scots on a wide range of issues related to children and young people. The Social Renewal Advisory Board's (SRAB) report details public views after holding listening events across the country; the Strategy builds on its 'Calls to Action' to focus actions on reducing poverty and increasing equality. The Higgins report provides recommendations for Scotland's economy recovery, including recommendations related to young people's skills development and employability.
9. Have you involved children and young people in the development of the policy/measure?
Children and young people engagement research has fed into the Covid Recovery Strategy. This body of work includes a mixture of quantitative and qualitative studies that examine views on key issues, such as their mental wellbeing, Covid restrictions, return to in-person teaching and family/friend relationships during the pandemic. This research also cuts across key equality characteristics such as gender, age, socioeconomic background, disability and care experience.