Children (Scotland) Bill update
Date: 25th June 2020
Category: Family Environment and Alternative Care
The Children (Scotland) Bill aims to make changes to how disputes involving children are resolved when families break down. It aims to ensure the voice of the child is heard in court proceedings, measures are aimed at protecting the best interests of children and regulate child contact centres and child welfare reporters. This Bill has now passed stage two, during which proposed amendments were voted on.
The purpose of the Bill is to enable better compliance with the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child in residence cases which decide the living and visiting arrangements for children and Children’s Hearings. The changes proposed by the Bill include:
- Encouragement of hearing the views of younger children
- Protection of vulnerable witnesses in court cases about children
- Recognition of parental rights and responsibilities obtained outwith the UK
- Regulation of child contact centres that enable children to have contact with family members and parents they do not live with.
- Regulation of registers of child welfare reporters
The Bill was considered at stage 2 on 23rd June 2020. An amendment to introduce a duty for the availability of advocacy services for children was passed by the Justice Committee. This research was used to support the change.
The Bill will proceed to Stage 3 after recess (date to be published in the Parliamentary Business Bulletin).