The launch of the UNCRC parents booklet
“The more parents know about children’s rights in policy and practice, the more empowered they’ll be. The UNCRC parents’ booklet brings together lots of helpful information and is a great starting point for parents in Scotland.” – Patrick McGlinchey (Executive Director, Connect)
World Children’s Day 2022 (20th November 2022) saw the launch of a new and much anticipated booklet for parents, carers and family members. The booklet provides information about children’s rights and introduces the United Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
The UNCRC is the internationally mandated children’s rights treaty. It sets out the rights that all children and young people should expect and what they need to grow up happy, healthy and safe. It outlines the central role played by parents and families. It also recognises that they need protection and assistance to support the rights and wellbeing of their children.
Scottish Government remains committed to the incorporation of the UNCRC as far as possible within devolved competence and doing that as soon as practicable. The majority of work needed to progress UNCRC implementation is continuing. A key part of that work is awareness raising, as set out in the UNCRC Implementation Action Plan. The new booklet meets the requirements of UNCRC (Article 42) which state that Governments must actively work to make sure children and adults know about the UNCRC.
The need to create a resource raising awareness of children’s rights was raised by Scotland’s leading parenting organisations as far back as 2018. They wanted the resource to be clear, with bespoke messaging for parents, carers, and families. A UNCRC Parents Network was formed in 2019. This was then re-established in 2021 to work together to consider the complex issue of what, and how, to inform parents about children’s rights and create the key messaging. The new network took a systems thinking approach, inviting new third sector organisations and interested policy colleagues from across Scottish Government. Together they began exploring the current system and identifying the needs and gaps.
Building on the findings from the Scottish Parents Survey 2021, the network agreed to commission further in-depth research. This helped them understand what parents already know about children’s rights and the UNCRC, and how they wanted to receive information. The research took a qualitative approach, to ensure the voice and lived experience of parents was captured. 41 participants were involved, with 8 focus groups and 7 in-depth interviews conducted. It was a priority to engage with parents and carers whose children are furthest from their rights being respected. 12 participants had a child with a long-term health condition and 10 parents had a long-term health condition. 3 had experience with courts, 2 had experience of domestic abuse, 1 parent had care experience and 1 had experience of homelessness.
The network met monthly and agreed collectively to create a booklet for parents. They were clear that this resource should convey broad universal messaging targeted at parents. They also wanted it to adopt a warm and reassuring tone. We invited parent’s organisations to feedback at every stage of the writing and design process.
We took a measured and organic approach. We invited regular feedback from not only network members but also wider Scottish Government policy partners. This has resulted in a parents and carers booklet where there is strong support and investment from across the sector. The booklet will be available on a new Parent Club rights page. The booklet can also be found on the websites of many parent’s organisations. These organisations plan to share the booklet through their networks and build on their trusted relationships to inform parents. The children’s rights team led the work. They are now exploring other national distribution opportunities.
This booklet is not the end of the work. This is just the beginning.
Now that an introduction to children’s rights for parents has been created, our focus will move to how we ensure all parents, carers and families have the same opportunity to access the information. This will have a particular focus on the families of those children and young people furthest from their rights.
You can read and download the booklet.