SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has welcomed today’s news that the Outer Hebrides have been selected as one of six pathfinder areas for Scotland’s first Bairns’ Hooses.
Minister for Keeping the Promise, Natalie Don, has announced that the Western Isles, along with Fife, North Strathclyde, Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City and Tayside, will become home to the Bairns’ Hoose test sites. Supported by £6 million Scottish Government funding, multi-agency partnerships across the six areas will set up pathfinders to provide coordinated, comprehensive support for children and young people in the justice system. Services available will include child protection, recovery, healthcare, therapeutic support and justice, providing a blueprint for a full pilot from 2025.
‘Barnahus’ as the policy is called in Iceland, is based on the Child Advocacy Model adopted in the US in the 1980s and was first implemented in Iceland in 1998, followed by other Nordic countries. It is now being widely adopted across Europe. Bringing the ‘Barnahus’ model to Scotland has been a long standing and crosscutting policy ambition, as set out in the Programme for Government 2022-2023.
Commenting, Alasdair Allan MSP said:
“I welcome the selection of the Outer Hebrides as one of the first areas where the innovative Bairns’ Hoose model will be launched. This model will help support children and young people involved in the justice and care systems, as well as their families. The creation of these pathfinders will collectively uphold the rights of children and their families to compassionate and effective support in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. This is a significant step forward in the Scottish Government’s aim of transforming the care and justice systems, and the inclusion of the Western Isles as an initial pathfinder partnership area will help ensure the adaptation of this successful model is tailored to the needs of island and rural communities as well as more urban areas.”