Children’s Care and Justice Bill - consultation on policy proposals

Closed 22 Jun 2022

Opened 30 Mar 2022


Scotland’s ambition is to be the best place in the world to grow up. To achieve this Scotland is adopting a progressive, and continually improving, approach to supporting our children and young people to achieve the best outcomes possible.

This consultation covers potential legislative reforms to promote and advance the rights of all children and people who have been harmed. In particular, the objectives of these proposals are to safeguard and support Scotland’s children towards positive outcomes and destinations, especially those who may need legal measures to secure their wellbeing and safety. The proposals have a particular focus on children coming into contact with care and justice services, with a view to supporting them through age-appropriate systems and services. The proposals will also focus on further reducing the number of children in Young Offenders’ Institutions and reforming the approach to considering the placement of children in secure care. The introduction of additional safeguards and regulation for children placed in cross-border placements is also proposed. Respondents’ feedback will help inform the development of a Children’s Care and Justice Bill, committed to in the current Programme for Government.

The policy aims that the proposed legislation seeks to support are:

  • To ensure children receive the right help and support they require, at the right time, as far as possible and appropriate without statutory intervention.
  • Where any child requires the support and intervention of formal systems, to ensure this is available through the age-appropriate children’s hearings system by raising the maximum age of referral to the Principal Reporter.
  • To ensure children are treated in a way that is trauma-informed and accounts for their age and stage of development. 
  • To maximise the use of measures to support children in the community, and with their family wherever possible. Where a child requires to be deprived of their liberty, to ensure that this only happens in age-appropriate care facilities where possible and appropriate. 
  • That cross-border placements should only occur in exceptional circumstances where the placement is in the best interests of an individual child.
  • To enhance the rights to appropriate protection, support and information for people who have been harmed irrespective of the age of the person who has caused the harm or the system dealing with their case.
  • To make other technical and procedural alterations to existing legislation in such areas where deemed necessary and appropriate.

Read the consultation paper 

Read the easy read consultation paper

Why your views matter

These are important issues that could have a significant bearing on outcomes for Scotland's children and young poeple. Consultation is an essential part of the policy process, especially for proposals being introduced to the Scottish Parliament. Adding your views gives the Scottish Government the opportunity to consider your opinion, and your experience in areas, on the proposals.


  • Children and Families