Children’s organisations and other bodies have banded together to come up with 25 priorities for improving young lives – with the top challenge being to stop seeing children who live in poverty as “tragic”.
The charity Children in Scotland has released the list to mark its 25th anniversary, and the number one call is: “Change the language of poverty: young people deserve dignity, not stigma and discrimination”.
The charity said there was a need to “move away from tragic narratives about young people in poorer areas and recognise them and their communities as complex, with both strengths and challenges”.
Four young people involved in the process of devising the calls – Divine, Somer, Josh and Rebecca – said: “We need you, everyone in society, to think about how you use our story. We know this is not always easy. The media want to highlight the challenges, charities need to justify the great work that they do, and funders want to know that they are reaching those in need.
“But we want you to focus more on the achievements and difference that can be made rather than the problems we face.”
Children in Scotland chief executive Jackie Brock said: “Our calls powerfully reflect the range of concerns amongst young people and those advocating for them in 2018, including the impact of stigma, the need for improved mental -support for children, and why we must recognise that tackling child poverty, abuse and neglect requires a collective effort.”
Articles by the contributors outlining each of the 25 Calls have been published in a special edition of the Children in Scotland members’ magazine.
The full list of calls was revealed at a campaign launch event in Edinburgh last night:
- Change the language of poverty: young people deserve dignity, not stigma and discrimination (the GK Experience, Peek – Possibilities for Each and Every Kid, and Inspiring Scotland)
- Make it your business to tackle child poverty (Professor John McKendrick, Glasgow Caledonian University)
- All children and young people should be able to, and know how to, get support with their mental health and wellbeing when they need it, without discrimination. (Children in Scotland’s young people’s advisory group Changing Our World, with Mary Glasgow, interim CEO of Children 1st, and Denise Coia, chair of the Scottish government’s Taskforce on Children’s and Young People’s Mental Health)
- To end abuse and neglect, live what we know: it’s everyone’s job to make sure children are alright (Brigid Daniel, founder of the Scottish Centre for Wellbeing and Child Protection and dean of the School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh)
- 16- and 17-year-olds must be able to vote in all UK polls. Brexit proves this is a civil-rights issue (Jackie Brock, CEO, Children in Scotland)
- Rights, wellbeing and love of learning must be at the heart of education for Scotland to truly be the best place to grow up (Elaine Kerridge – Children in Scotland)
- Support the aims and work of the Care Review (Fiona Duncan – Chair, Independent Care Review in Scotland)
- Reform the Gender Recognition Act to give trans young people the chance to live full, happy lives (Jade Mulholland, activist and campaigner)
- Ensure Scotland’s next generation can lead active, healthy lives (Andrew Fraser, Linda de Caestecker and Sonya Scott – NHS Health Scotland and NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde)
- It’s time to agree a common set of values in the digital world (Jess McBeath, consultant and trainer specialising in online safety and digital citizenship in Scotland and Scottish contact for South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) Trust
- We need an economy underpinned by sustainability, innovation and social justice (separate contributions under this headline call from Dr Craig Dalzell, Common Weal, and Dr Graeme Roy, Fraser of Allander Institute)
- Support our pupils and teachers: embed understanding of ASN (additional support needs) in initial teacher training and ongoing development (Scottish Autism)
- Support children to become human-rights defenders (Children and Young People’s Commissioner Bruce Adamson, with young campaigner Ruby)
- From homelessness to the Home Office, young people’s services must be humanised (young people from the Youth Community Support Agency)
- Top up child benefit by £5 per week to loosen the grip of child poverty (Child Poverty Action Group Scotland and The Poverty Alliance)
- Work together to build cultures where every voice is valued, and create a society free from bullying (respectme, Scotland’s anti-bullying service)
- Prioritise participation, integration and relationships to give children the best start (Children in Scotland and Change – Childcare And Nurture Glasgow East)
- Take the next step in participation and food education: give communities the keys to school kitchens (Donna Borokinni, nutritional health consultant and trainer working in Glasgow)
- Launch a national effort to provide “Well Teenager” clinics to support all young people who need it (Community Justice Scotland)
- Deliver a workforce that works for children: confident, skilled and values-driven (Children in Scotland, YouthLink Scotland)
- Invest in relationship-based, whole-family support, not more parenting programmes (Parenting across Scotland)
- Build wellbeing into the design of our learning spaces to show young people they are truly valued (Architecture and Design Scotland)
- Let’s make Scotland a nation of Unfearties! (The Children’s Parliament, and Together, the Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights)
- Ensure all children can participate in high-quality, innovative arts experiences from the earliest age (Starcatchers, Scotland’s National Arts and Early Years Organisation)
- Cut cars from school drop-offs to boost active travel and improve air quality for our children (Sustrans Scotland, the charity making it easier for people to walk and cycle).