Today, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child Incorporation (Scotland) Bill comes before the Scottish Parliament. Through incorporating the UNCRC, it aims to make a real difference to children and young people’s lives.
And as the Bill enters its journey to becoming law, people of all ages in Scotland are reflecting on what incorporation will mean for them. Rebecca Laing, a children’s services social worker in Angus Council advocates for children every day. She knows that incorporation will bring changes for the children she works with— and in this short blog for us, she sets out why these changes matter.
This is not about doing what is easy or straightforward: it is about doing what is right
Incorporation will mean that ALL children will have the same rights protected in law.
It is an equaliser, and a standard which we must all now work hard to maintain.
It creates a new baseline for how all adults in Scotland must respect and promote rights for all children, regardless of their circumstances, while still allowing them to be individuals and to take account of their specific needs and wishes.
Social Work, at its core, is about promoting all human rights. Within my role, we are passionate about advocating for the rights of our children and families― and ensuring our children and young people are safe, healthy and happy.
Incorporation will mean this is not just an expectation, but a requirement. Our roles will become even more important in terms of advocating for the rights of the children with whom we work. Not just in terms of protection and welfare, but in ensuring children and young people know their rights and understand what having their rights in law means for them.
As social workers we will now be promoting cultural change, whereby the voice of the child takes on a stronger role. Incorporation means that children can choose not to engage with us sometimes, and we have to respect this.
It may mean that decisions become more complex and we will need to be able to take the time to improve how we engage children in the decisions which affect them.
Incorporation means that all decisions have to be focussed on children’s rights, and an acknowledgment that all of these rights are equally important. This is not about doing what is easy or straightforward: it is about doing what is right, in protecting and promoting the rights or all of the children and families with which we work.