Free pre-school childcare proposed in Scotland

Thu, 05/07/2012 - 13:34 -- nick

A new government bill has outlined plans to increase free pre-school childcare and to make Scotland "the best place in the world to grow up".

The Children and Young People Bill will give three and four-year-olds, and some two-year-olds, 600 hours annual care, a 125-hour increase on current provision.

Children's minister Aileen Campbell said she wanted the most flexible package of family support in the UK.

A consultation on the bill will now run for the next 12 weeks.

Responses are invited from professionals, parents, carers and children and must be submitted by 25 September.

Ms Campbell said she wanted to make it easier for parents to access work, education or training.

Details of the bill include;

  • Increasing the amount of flexible, early learning and childcare to a minimum of 600 hours annually for three and four-year-olds and looked after two-year-olds
  • Embedding the "Getting it right for every child" (GIRFEC) approach in a single system of planning and delivery across children's services
  • A requirement for public bodies to design, plan and deliver policies and services that focus on improving children and young people's wellbeing
  • Improving Scotland's care system to ensure it offers effective, efficient support for children and families, centred on short and long-term needs

Ms Campbell said: "The Scottish government's vision for children and young people is clear - we want Scotland to be the best place in the world to grow up.

"As part of this new bill, I want to put in place the best and most flexible package of family support in the UK to help Scotland's parents, children and our wider economy.

"This legislation will boost our ongoing efforts to strengthen the rights of the child, making Scotland a nation where the rights of children and young people are not only recognised, but rooted deeply in our society and across our public services.

"We have a huge opportunity to make the most important changes to public services in a generation and I encourage as many people as possible to take part in the consultation and the wider debate on the future of children's rights and services in our country."

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