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Working together to house Scotland's children

This one-day Shelter conference, held in Glasgow on 24 March 2009, explored the latest developments in policy and practice across the housing, homelessness and children’s sectors.

Morning plenary session

Douglas Hamilton, Director, Save the Children Scotland, chaired the event and the first plenary session looked at the central role housing plays in improving outcomes for children, ending child poverty and making sure children reach their potential. Adam Ingram MSP, Minister for Children and Early Years, gave the first presentation, outlining new Scottish Government guidance on acting in the best interests of children facing homelessness.

Mr Ingram was followed by John Dickie, Head of the Child Poverty Action Group, who gave an overview of recent developments and priorities in addressing child poverty in Scotland. The next presentation was given by Douglas Hutchison, from HM Inspectorate of Education who talked about the barriers to learning and taking part in school life experienced by children facing homelessness and how to minimize the impact by offering the right support.

You can download their presentations here:

The role of housing in improving outcomes for children
Adam Ingram MSP, Minister for Children and Early Years

Child poverty in Scotland
John Dickie, Head of Child Poverty Action Group

Scottish education and homelessness
Douglas Hutchison, HM Inspectorate of Education

Morning workshop sessions

Delegates were given a choice of three workshops as follows:

Keys to the future: Shelter Scotland’s education support service
Vicky Long, Jacqueline McGrath & Paula McLean, Shelter Scotland

Temporary accommodation for families with children
John Kerr, West Dunbartonshire Council

Getting it right for every child: Highland pathfinder
Iver Forsyth & Linda MacLennan, Highland Council

Afternoon plenary session

The afternoon presentations looked at the reality of housing problems experienced by children in Scotland and how local authorities can tackle these.

Mark Griffiths, Housing Support Services Manager, Shelter Scotland, focused on the facts and figures on children and homelessness, drawing on recent work by Shelter in this area. Val Holtom, Homelessness Manager, South Lanarkshire Council, outlined the approach the Council has taken to improving services for homeless children at a strategic and practical level.

You can download their presentations here:

Children, bad housing and homelessness: the facts
Mark Griffiths, Housing Support Services Manager, Shelter Scotland

Joint working to tackle the effects of homelessness on children
Val Holtom, Homelessness Manager, South Lanarkshire Council

Afternoon workshop sessions

There were three options for delegates to select from as follows:

ROC services: refuge and outreach
Laura Irvine, Aberlour Childcare Trust

Supporting documents can be downloaded here:

Assessing Homeless Children’s Support Needs
Paula Robertson, Pauline Colles & Brock Lueck, Shelter Scotland

Preventing eviction of families
Jessie Crawford, Shelter Scotland