Plans which aim to secure better outcomes for young disabled people are moving forward
New legislation which aims to ensure young people living with a disability receive support with the transition to adulthood is moving through the legislative stages.
The disability transitions bill requires the Scottish Government to introduce a national transitions strategy to improve outcomes for children and young people with a disability in the transition to adulthood and calls for the appointment of a minister with special responsibility for transitions.
There is at present generally no statutory requirement to put a plan in place to assist disabled children and young people in their transition to adulthood. As a result, the transitions for many disabled children and young people are often challenging, and consistently deliver poorer outcomes. Support with transitions would then remain in place until no longer needed, or the young person’s 26th birthday.
Labour MSP Johann Lamont is leading the bill through the Scottish Parliament and more than 50 MSPs from across the political spectrum have now backed the bill.
The Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee has now issued a call for Stage 1 evidence to be heard.
Lamont said: “Throughout this campaign I have been constantly struck by the powerful stories from individuals and families with lived experience of a disability. I now want to make sure as many voices from across Scotland are heard during this consultation.
“We need to do much more to assist young disabled people and my bill aims to help address the problems they face and provide the additional support that they so desperately need.
“MSPs examining this proposal should be in no doubt about the daily struggles and challenges many people face. I hope as many people as possible use this opportunity to express their view and help shape the proposal.”
Camphill Scotland and Inclusion Scotland are both supporting the plans. Emma Walker, director of Camphill Scotland, said: “The transition from childhood into adulthood is a crucial time, and more so for young people who are disabled or who have additional support needs. Currently less than 1% of children and young people who are eligible for a Co-ordinated Support Plan actually gets to have one, and for those young people who have one the scope of the plan is limited to school education.
“The transitions bill will change the course of the lives of our most vulnerable young people, ensuring that they receive all of the opportunities available to them. I encourage everyone who has relevant experiences to respond to the consultation.”
Bill Scott, senior policy advisor for Inclusion Scotland, said: “The impact of the pandemic on young people’s employment has been catastrophic. The number of 16-24 year olds in employment has fallen by over 350,000, proportionately more than 10 times the impact on all other age groups combined. That’s why the measures outlined in this bill are needed now more than ever in order to avoid the long term scarring of young disabled people’s lives. Young disabled people are not asking for much. Just a little help in taking their first steps in adult life.”