Bruce Adam­son, scot­land’s chil­dren And young peo­ple’s com­mis­sioner

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - NEWS -

“Poverty is the big­gest is­sue in terms of the hu­man rights of chil­dren at the mo­ment, and is­sues around ru­ral poverty have come through re­ally clearly in the dis­cus­sions I’ve had around Scot­land.

“The key thing, for me, is that in a rich coun­try like Scot­land it’s been re­ally quite shock­ing that poverty is hav­ing such a ma­jor im­pact on our chil­dren and young peo­ple.

“It’s a real hu­man rights is­sue be­cause it links through to your abil­ity to ac­cess your other rights. If you’ve got a hun­gry tummy, you can’t go on and get a good ed­u­ca­tion. You need to be in a safe warm house with good, nu­tri­tious food. That en­ables you to get on and get the ed­u­ca­tion that you need to go on to work or fur­ther or higher ed­u­ca­tion, but also just to be part of your com­mu­nity, to make friend­ships, to so­cialise – all the things that you need to do through­out your child­hood: poverty is hav­ing a huge im­pact.

“As the Chil­dren’s Com­mis­sioner – set up by the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment and to­tally in­de­pen­dent of gov­ern­ment and lo­cal au­thor­i­ties – my job is to pro­mote and safe­guard the rights of every­one up to the age of 18, or up to 21 if you’ve been in care at any time.

“It’s mainly about hold­ing to ac­count those that have made prom­ises that chil­dren should not ex­pe­ri­ence poverty.

“There are def­i­nitely fail­ures in the sys­tem. We need to do a lot more to look at how our so­cial se­cu­rity sys­tem works, how lo­cal au­thor­i­ties can give ex­tra sup­port.

“There are broader things that need to be done to sup­port com­mu­ni­ties, cre­ate jobs, and sup­port things like men­tal health, but the re­ally ex­cit­ing thing about when you work di­rectly with chil­dren and young peo­ple is that they have ex­cite­ment and ideas and as­pi­ra­tions. We need to get them more in­volved.”

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