The rights and wellbeing of children and young people are at the centre of our response to COVID-19 which is why we prioritised keeping schools open and ensuring that children and young people are still able to gather with their friends with the least restrictions applied to under 12s.
In these unprecedented times, difficult decisions have had to be made. This document builds upon the work undertaken in the past months to ensure that children’s rights and wellbeing are at the heart of our response to COVID-19 the full list of children’s rights and wellbeing impact assessments (CRWIAs) which have been published can be accessed: Child rights and wellbeing impact assessments: list - gov.scot (www.gov.scot).
These set out our efforts to mitigate the wider harms on children, through decisions that are necessary at this stage to keep our country safe. This is a global pandemic, and these are highly uncertain times, which means our decision making process is continuous and multi-faceted. We will continue to make every effort to ensure that children’s rights and wellbeing are central to this approach and that CRWIAs are undertaken and published.
We know how important is to be able to connect with loved ones and for children to meet their friends and the damage that can be done when meaningful contact is restricted. The protective measures, while necessary, have increased social isolation for many which can have a detrimental impact on well-being and physical mental health in the short and long term.
We need to recognise that only babies, children and young people are going through periods of brain development, that is shaped by their relationships and the environments around them. Appreciating the differential impacts of decisions on the ability for children and young people to grow and develop optimally is crucial to balance the responses to an immediate health crisis with one that emerges over time.
Significant periods of uncertainty compound the challenges that some families face. Those already disadvantaged are likely to suffer more from stringent policy making that is not holistic or reflective of their individual circumstances. As part of recovering from the pandemic, we need to ensure that those that need additional support are offered it in a way that meets their needs, and their views and experiences are used to shape the way that services and wider supports continue to be made available.
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