Successful implementation of the proposed Disabled Children and Young People (Transition to Adulthood) (Scotland) Bill will require more than legislation to ensure that children and young people achieve effective transitions.
This is just one of the key messages included in the response submitted by leading Scottish children’s health charity, Children’s Health Scotland, to a call for views on the Bill. Commenting on the submission by the charity, Trustee Maggie Simpson said:
Following consultation with our members and staff, Children’s Health Scotland broadly agrees with the aims and objectives of the Bill, although we consider it unlikely that these will be met without other actions being taken. Having specific legislation sends out an important message that Scotland is serious about supporting our disabled children and young people though transitions. However, there is now such a big gap for disabled children and young people once school finishes, that successful implementation of the Bill will mean much more than just the legislation. All of us within our sector have a responsibility and a role to play to make it successful for every child and young person.
The Bill will require Scottish Ministers to introduce and implement a National Transitions Strategy to improve outcomes for children and young people with a disability in the transition to adulthood. Johann Lamont MSP introduced the Bill because she thinks disabled children and young people need extra support to help them transition to adulthood. This will help them have the same opportunities as other children and young people. The Bill aims to make sure that there are structures in place to support disabled children and young people at that time in their lives.
The Bill should provide important foundations from which to build and make sure that there is accountability at the highest level within Scotland for disabled children and young people,
added Helen Forrest, Chief Executive of Children’s Health Scotland.
It should also provide more continuity across different local authorities in relation to the basic duties this will impose. The Bill itself though is just part of the solution. There also needs to be more sharing of good practice and increased support and training. Plans must involve professionals from various sectors and include improvements in basic training. There is still a long road ahead, but Children’s Health Scotland believe that this new legislation in the form of the Bill emphasises the enormous importance of transition for disabled children and young people and underlines the priority being given by the Scottish Government to supporting them.
The Bill will ensure that a child’s right to the best possible health is not undermined in the change from child to adult services.
To read our full response to the call for views CLICK HERE.