Children's rights service
The children's rights service helps children and young people who are being looked after. We help you understand your rights and make sure that they are being respected.
The service is independent from social workers, teachers, residential care staff, foster carers, educational psychologists and all other adults concerned with your care.
In this section, you can find out more about:
- Who can use the service
- What the service does
- Your rights
- Young People's Organising and Campaigning group
- Rights Matters newsletters
- Useful contacts
The children’s rights service is there for all children and young people who are, or have been, looked after by the council. It is also there for children and young people who have been placed in a residential school for their education.
Looked after can mean that you are living away from home at the moment. You might be living in a children's home, a foster family, a residential school or a secure unit. It can also mean that you are living at home while on a supervision requirement from a children’s hearing.
You have important rights which must be respected.
Anyone can ask for help from the children's rights service, but the children's rights officer will only get involved if you agree.
The children's rights service is there to help you to better understand your rights and responsibilities when being looked after or living away from home. We can also tell the adults responsible for you about what rights you have and how they can respect them.
The children's rights service can:
- Give you information and advice about your rights, if you'd like a copy of our information pack contact children's rights officer
- Help you to represent your views at meetings, like children’s hearings, LAC reviews or other meetings
- Help you make a complaint, or sort out your concerns
- Listen to and take seriously what you say
- Help you to put forward your views on services for children and young people
- Help put a stop to things that should not happen
- Make sure that those caring for you listen to what you have to say
- Put you in touch with other people who can give you help and advice
A children's rights officer is there to work for you and with you. You can ask the children's rights officer about any problem, or worry you may have, or about what your rights are.
The children's rights officer can help over the phone, by writing to you or by arranging to visit you in a place you find suitable. You can have someone there to support you if you want.
Anything you tell the children's rights officer is confidential. They will not discuss it with any other person without your permission.
Social workers, residential workers and foster carers should know about the children’s rights service and will be able to help you use it. You should not be stopped from contacting the children’s rights service and you should never get into trouble for this. It is your service and you have a right to use it.
Children and young people have rights laid down by international and Scottish law, and by government policy. These include:
- The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
- The Children (Scotland) Act 1995
- The Human Rights Act 1998
The children's rights service will support you to make sure that your rights are respected. But remember - other people have rights - and these should also be respected. It is not acceptable for people to be violent to one another, insult one another, steal or damage property.
These rules apply to adults and children. If you respect other people's rights, your rights are more likely to be respected.
The Young People's Organising and Campaigning (YPOC) Group is a group of young people - aged 14 and over - who are, or have been, looked after away from home. The group meets monthly and is open to any young person who wants to come along.
The YPOC group gives you the opportunity to share your views and experiences of being looked after so we, and our partner agencies, can then improve our services.
The group also looks for ways to help more young people have a voice. Campaigning and highlighting the issues that affect you.
The YPOC group takes part in:
- Training events for your teachers and partner professionals
- The launch of the corporate parenting guidelines
- The launch of the council's looked after children guidelines and education
- Tell it like it is events
The children's rights service is also helping the YPOC group to link into the formal structures of the council.
The YPOC group have written and produced guides and DVDs about:
- Making meetings better
- Corporate parenting guide
- Supporting looked after young people in school guide
- Coming into care and moving placement
The YPOC group have written and produced a guide and DVD to meetings for the adults who come to looked after young people’s meetings.
The guide is for the adults who come along to looked after young people’s meetings. It tells them what would help children and young people to take part more fully in their meetings and what the adults can do to support them.
The YPOC group have written and produced a guide and DVD We Are the Bairns. It is about corporate parenting from the perspective of looked after young children.
This guide is for anyone who is involved with the care of looked after children, so that everyone with a corporate parent role knows what young people expect of them.
The YPOC group created Don't Judge, We're no different from you guide and DVD to improve the experience of looked after children in school.
This guide is aimed at corporate parents in education and school management to get them to understand that school is important for you and that if you can do well at school, you can do well in life. It helps teachers and support staff to know the challenges that you might be facing and how it will affect your ability to learn.
It is also important for other pupils to understand what it's like to be in care and that most of the time, you are not in care because you have done something bad.
The YPOC Group’s campaign is about coming into care and moving placement and gives guidance to the adults involved in supporting them at this time, about what they can do to make things easier for children and young people going through this experience.
The YPOC group drew on their own experiences and also surveyed other care experienced children and young people, to create a guide and a DVD which they hope will improve the experience for children who come into care or move placement in future.
Rights Matters is our children's rights service newsletter which is published twice a year and circulated to all children aged 5 and above who are looked after away from home. You can view our most recent issues.