Families and children
The Church of Scotland supports families and frequently advocates on their behalf. We believe that all families should be provided with the support and resources necessary to thrive.
Increasing Scottish Child Payments
Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, joined more than 120 organisations across Scotland to urge the Scottish Government to immediately double Child Payments to £20 a week.
Child poverty is rising in every local authority in Scotland, where more than one in four children grow up in poverty. Scottish Government forecasts indicate that the number of children living in poverty will reach 38% by 2030/31. Experiencing poverty is known to undermine the physical and mental health, wellbeing and educational attainment of children.
The Church has joined with other faith leaders to decry the situation, asserting that this "goes against everything we stand for as a society." In a statement to the Scottish Government, the faith leaders further highlighted the "moral imperative that the Scottish Government does all it can to lift children out of poverty."
The full statement
"Scotland is a country that believes in justice, compassion, and dignity for everyone. Yet our country can never be just while over one million people – including almost one in four children – are living in the grip of poverty.
As leaders of Scotland's faith groups, we voice the concerns of our faith communities that so many across the country – especially low-paid women, disabled people, and people from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds - are struggling to stay afloat.
We see in our own communities the impact of poverty; with people being forced to choose between paying their rent and putting food on the table for their children.
These levels of hardship go against everything that we stand for as a society, and we must put them right.
We all have a role to play, but governments have a bigger role than most.
The Scottish Child Payment is a lifeline for families across Scotland and embodies the kind of country we all want to be.
But with child poverty rising in every area of Scotland, it is a moral imperative that the Scottish Government does all it can to lift children out of poverty in next week's ‘Programme for Government#'.
Every political party in Scotland supports the doubling of the Scottish Child Payment, and there would be no greater symbol of our national mission to end child poverty than taking this action now.
We urge the Scottish Government to use its powers to do the just and compassionate thing. Respond to this moral imperative, double the Scottish Child Payment now, and protect Scotland's children from poverty."
Expanding support for families impacted by COVID-19
CrossReach, the Church's social care arm, joined some of Scotland's largest children and families' charities to ask politicians across the political spectrum to expand support to families and ensure they recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
In the lead-up to the Scottish elections in spring 2021, candidates were asked to adopt funding policies that would lift families out of poverty and ensure they get the support they need.
The full letter
Dear political parties and candidates,
We are writing to you as the leaders of organisations that work with Scotland's children and families urging you to commit to a radical expansion and enhancement of the support available to families to ensure they get the support needed to recover from the pandemic.
Supporting families involves working alongside them to build on their strengths and develop the tools, strategies, and skills needed to create a safe and loving family environment. Family support should be available when, where and for as long as each family needs it.
Unfortunately, due to the impact of the pandemic and the resulting lockdowns, many families have told us they are under immense stress and strain, including being placed into poverty or at the risk of being pulled further into poverty. For some families they need support for the first time. This additional demand for help and support has placed great strain on Scotland's current family support infrastructure and resources.
Covid-19 has accelerated the underlying structural crisis in family support provision. Too often our organisations have witnessed families not receiving the support they need and want.
Ironically spending that could be part of an integrated approach to supporting families has often been diluted into a fractured siloed system both at a national and local level. This lack of joined-up approach has seen many families not having the support and resilience to weather the current crisis.
However, we believe that the pandemic and this election can now act as a catalyst for change.
Scotland must rise and meet the true scale of the challenge. We are calling for a root and branch transformation of how we support and invest in children and families. Scotland needs to shift spending to enable every child and every family to build resilience and thrive.
We therefore ask that you enter into a new relationship with Scotland's families to ensure:
- All families have a right to family support, as with other public services free at the point of need.
- A bold funding commitment is given to match the scale of this ambition.
- There is a fundamental redesign of existing structures and services, with the views and voices of families and young people at the heart of this redesign.
- Family support services are not a ‘one-size-fits all' but tailored to what individual families want and need.
We know that every family, and their circumstances, is different. Likewise, the support offered to families should reflect the diverse needs of each family located within each community. What is universal, however, is all family relationships have a major influence on a child's life. Thus, in Scotland, family support must be a universal right so all family members can fulfil their potential. Families must be able to access the support they want and need and be able to choose from a range of providers.
We call on you to join with us to agree the vision and commitment to deliver the transformative change our communities need to meet the challenge of Covid recovery.
We urge you to enter into a new relationship with Scotland's families to build trust, empathy, and openness, to fund and develop mutual learning and support services which will create resilient families.
We look forward to working with you on this cause.