Supporting Disabled Young People
Much of my time in Parliament at the moment is being taken up with the work of the Education, Children and Young People Committee in scrutinising the Disabled Children and Young People (Transitions to Adulthood)(Scotland) Bill, brought forward by a backbench MSP.
The proposed legislation attempts to improve the experience of disabled young people as they grow up, leave school settings and move from children’s to adult services.
Whether this Bill would achieve what it needs to in order to genuinely improve things for these young folk and their families, or rather simply congest the legislative landscape further, is something the committee is working through.
The question is – where duties and rights already exist, do we need these replicated or would it be better to revisit existing entitlements to ensure these are being delivered?
What is in no doubt is the crying need for improvement across Scotland. The system needs more than a good shake!
Going into the scrutiny process I knew there were issues around transition. I had encountered these on occasion whilst assisting constituents, over what is approaching 12 years as an MSP.
I had not, however, realised how widespread and engrained the problems are.
A lack of dedicated resource plays a part in that, but there are process and culture issues too. These absolutely get in the way of families accessing the support they need to allow young people to maximise their potential and live the best lives they can.
And yet we have also heard of excellent examples of families being well supported in all regards. So it can be done.
I don’t mind admitting that some of the evidence placed before us has left me emotional, and a little angry. Families should not have to fight tooth and nail for a fair crack of the whip.
Whatever verdict the committee delivers on the Bill, the focus it has brought to bear on this area has been shown to be absolutely necessary.
I am hopeful we will see positive change as a result of that. It is certainly needed!