Children & Young People's Commissioner - Scotland

The Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland is Bruce Adamson. He works with his team to protect the human rights of children and young people.

This feature contains links, articles and a gallery of information and content published by the Children and Young People's Commissioner in Scotland. 

Bruce Adamson, the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, says the most pressing issues for the Scottish Government are tackling systemic poverty, recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, and vastly improving mental health services.  

He said:

“Every five years, the UN holds the UK – and therefore the Scottish Government – to account when it comes to children’s rights. The eyes of the world are once again upon us as we send this report card, and we are still failing on many issues. In Scotland, the outstanding issues range from failing to tackle poverty, to the use of restraint of children, to the age of criminal responsibility that does not meet international minimum standards.  

“We all know that 2020 has been a year like no other, and children have adapted to their world changing completely. Children and young people in Scotland have been incredible in the ways in which they have coped throughout this pandemic. But for children living in poverty, it has made hunger, mental health and digital exclusion even worse.”   

“Accepting child poverty in a country as rich as ours is a political choice”

The Children’s Commissioners’ report to the UN shows that 24 per cent of children in Scotland are living in poverty.  

Bruce Adamson said:  

“Poverty affects every aspect of a child’s life, including their rights to learn, to good mental and physical health, and their future and development. It’s the most significant issue affecting children in Scotland today and we need a sustained, human rights-based approach to tackling it.

“Accepting child poverty in a country as rich as ours is a political choice. The government has a duty to use its maximum resources to raise children out of poverty. Every hungry child in Scotland is a failure by those in power who could have done more.”   

Disabled children are among those most at risk

The report also found that disabled children have been disproportionately affected by austerity and the pandemic, and special educational needs and disability provision in mainstream schools is insufficient.   

Bruce Adamson said: “When it comes to tackling poverty, it’s vital to know who is most vulnerable to it. Families with a disabled child or disabled parent, black and minority ethnic children, young carers, children of prisoners or who are care-experienced, and children in single-parent families are most at risk. Special attention has to be paid to the rights of these groups.” 

“We are seriously failing children when it comes to their mental health”

The Commissioner warned that already stretched mental health services for children have been made even worse because of the pandemic.

According to the report, provision of mental health services at community level is inconsistent and the number of children waiting more than 18 weeks for an initial appointment with CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) increased from 24.9% to 33.5% in 2019.

Waiting times are likely to have increased because of the pandemic. 


General advice/information


(for further information)

Emma Allen
Virtual Head Teacher (Care Experienced Young People)
01467 535395