Do the Right Thing: children's rights progress report

A progress report on our response to the 2008 concluding observations from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

14 Disabled children

What the Committee said:

"The Committee recommends that the State party:

(a) Take all necessary measures to ensure that legislation providing protection for persons with disabilities, as well as programmes and services for children with disabilities, are effectively implemented;

(b) Develop early identification programmes;

(c) Provide training for professional staff working with children with disabilities, such as medical, paramedical and related personnel, teachers and social workers;

(d) Develop a comprehensive national strategy for the inclusion of children with disability in the society;

(e) Undertake awareness-raising campaigns on the rights and special needs of children with disabilities, encourage their inclusion in society and prevent discrimination and institutionalization;

(f) Consider ratifying the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol."

Progress to date

  • We accepted the majority of the recommendations in the Children's Commissioner's report 'Handle with Care' and committed to doing the following:
  • developing new guidance on a range of issues connected with moving and handling; and
  • taking action to better communicate the nature of the legislative framework underpinning moving and handling practice to practitioners and to children and young people as service users. Rather than inventing new mechanisms, we will seek to do this through new guidance as well as existing communications channels across a range of relevant sectors.
  • The Scottish Government involved a wide range of stakeholders in gathering information and identifying relevant issues, and in conjunction with the Children's Commissioner and Capability Scotland, is developing a practical guide about moving and handling issues for professionals working with disabled children. The guide will be published later in 2012.
  • We have worked closely with the For Scotland's Disabled Children Coalition's Liaison Project to support and improve the lives of disabled children and their families, including transitions, short breaks and education issues. On short breaks, the Scottish Government recently committed £2 million of funding for short breaks for disabled children. £1.3 million will be available for organisations to provide short breaks for disabled children and young people with multiple support needs and their families. A further £558,450 will provide direct funding to families caring for a disabled or seriously ill child to choose their own break, or purchase items such as camping equipment or bicycles.
  • We are committed to listening to the views of disabled children and young people and their families. With this in mind, we asked For Scotland's Disabled Children ( FSDC) to sample the views of disabled children and young people including what they think about their lives and the services they use. This information will be fed into a range of policies, including the Children and Young People Bill development and GIRFEC.
  • The Office of Disability Issues ( ODI) published the UK report on the rights of people with disabilities to the UN Committee in November 2011. 'Achieving our potential' is the UK Government's discussion document for implementing reserved matters. The Scottish Government and other devolved administrations are considering implementation and monitoring of the UNCRDP through the existing structures of the Independent Living Programme and the Equality Act 2010. Regular meetings are held between the member state (the UK Government) and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on progress.
  • We have established the Additional Support for Learning Advisory Group comprising key stakeholders representing local government, voluntary sector, teaching unions and service providers to inform both our future policy development and our plans to improve practice.
  • We undertook a national review of services for disabled children and published a report and action plan in February 2011. A progress report on the action plan will be published in summer 2012.

Next steps

  • The Scottish Government has considered the issues relating to disabled children and child protection, and has consulted a number of experts such as social work managers, academics and disability organisations. As a result, a working group of experts in the field of child protection and disability will shortly be established. This group will produce materials to support child protection professionals working in families where disability is an issue.
  • We will shortly publish a report to Parliament on the implementation of the Additional Support for Learning legislation. This report is the first of four and sets out how the legislation is being implemented. It highlights that some children and young people are very well served by the system but that some, whose additional support needs are 'hidden' - for example, young carers, looked after children and young people - are less well served. We will develop, in partnership with key stakeholders, a long-term plan to support the implementation of the legislation. It will be published in summer 2012.


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