We welcome the publication of Together’s State of Children’s Rights in Scotland 2019 Report and are particularly thrilled that this year’s report again features a dedicated section on Children with parents or siblings in the Armed Forces.
The report acknowledges that Armed Forces children and young people face unique challenges including:
- High levels of mobility
- Interrupted learning
- Anxiety & worry when a member of their family is deployed
- Issues associated with the transition into civilian life when a serving parent leaves the Armed Forces
We are particularly pleased that the report includes direct feedback from our young people involved in our Youth Participation and Education Programmes. This is an important step in ensuring that the voices of Armed Forces children are heard on a wider scale and that their needs begin to be acknowledged. Our Youth Participation Programme has consulted with over 450 Armed Forces young people and has so far formed 7 Youth Forums nationwide to support Armed Forces children to be able to share their experiences with decision-makers and agencies including Together, and work with us to improve the experiences of future generations of Armed Forces children moving to Scotland.
The report also acknowledges the challenges that we face in terms of collecting data on the number of Armed Forces families in Scotland. The lack of data means that the exact number of children with a parent in the Armed Forces is not known, nor can their outcomes be identified. This is a real barrier to evidence-based policymaking, and tailoring support needs to meet the needs of Armed Forces children.
We fully support the reports recommendation that the UK & Scottish Governments should ensure that data is collected on the number of children with a parent in the Armed Forces and that their views are gathered to ensure their needs are met.
We look forward to working together with Together and other agencies to encourage the UK and Scottish Government to collect the data that we need on Armed Forces children: where they are and the supports that they need in education or in health and wellbeing more consistently.