A Bill that seeks to improve disabled children and young people’s transition to adulthood would not fully achieve its aims, according to a report from Holyrood’s Education, Children and Young People Committee.
Holyrood’s Education, Children and Young People Committee has been scrutinising the Disabled, Children and Young People (Transitions to Adulthood) (Scotland) Bill. While the Committee is supportive of the aims of the Bill, it is not convinced that it will resolve the issues being experienced by disabled young people.
During its inquiry, the Committee repeatedly heard about the challenges faced by disabled young people and their families. They said they often did not feel they were listened to by professionals, found there was nobody to take the lead on transitions and felt there was a disconnect between children’s and adult services.
Furthermore, many witnesses, including professionals working to support disabled young people, characterised the current legislative landscape as complex, cluttered and difficult to navigate.
The Committee heard that whilst the Bill sought to address this, several aspects of the Bill risked inadvertently complicating this landscape further. The Committee recognises, however, that doing nothing is not an option and makes a series of recommendations setting out which changes to current practice are urgently required.
During its inquiry, the Committee was also told that existing legislation and policies suffered from an ‘implementation gap’ due to limitations in resources, inconsistent practices, organisational cultures and difficulties with information sharing.
Commenting on the publication of the report, Sue Webber MSP, Convener of the Education, Children and Young People Committee, said:
“We want to see the support available for disabled children and young people’s transition to adulthood improve and commend the Member for her work in bringing forward this legislation. This Bill has shone a light on the challenges faced by disabled young people and their families.
“However, the views we heard during our inquiry were clear. The Bill is unlikely to resolve the substantial issues that families with disabled young people are facing. The Scottish Government must urgently act to fix these issues.”