Children (Scotland) Act 1995

An Act to reform the law of Scotland relating to children, to the adoption of children and to young persons who as children have been looked after by a local authority; to make new provision as respects the relationship between parent and child and guardian and child in the law of Scotland; to make provision as respects residential establishments for children and certain other residential establishments; and for connected purposes.

The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 marked a significant stage in the development of legislation on the care of children in Scotland. It is centred on the needs of children and their families and defines both parental responsibilities and rights in relation to children. It sets out the duties and powers available to public authorities to support children and their families and to intervene when the child's welfare requires it.



Reference: In the APA referencing system, Acts of Parliament do not need including in the reference list. On the first mention of the Act, a full citation is given in the text (ie. the name of the Act with date)




The essential principles behind the Act, which is the primary legislative framework for Regulations, Directions and Guidance, are;


Each child has a right to be treated as an individual

Each child who can form a view on matters affecting him or her has the right to express those views if he or she so wishes

Parents should normally be responsible for the upbringing of their children and should share that responsibility

Each child has the right to protection from all forms of abuse, neglect or exploitation

So far as is consistent with safeguarding and promoting the child's welfare, the public authority should promote the upbringing of children by their families

Any intervention by a public authority in the life of a child must be properly justified and should be supported by services from all relevant agencies working in collaboration.

In support of the principles, three main themes run through the Act;


  1. The welfare of the child is the paramount consideration when his or her needs are considered by courts and children's hearings
  2. No court should make an Order relating to a child and no children's hearing should make a supervision requirement unless the court or hearing considers that to do so would be better for the child than making no Order or supervision requirement at all
  3. The child's views should be taken into account where major decisions are to be made about his or her future.

In addition, there is a requirement at various parts of the Act for those providing for children to have regard to religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background.




Acts of parliament are continuously updated (revised) to reflect any amendments that subsequent acts make on the original. The pdf we reproduce here is the original, without amendments, it is the act, as first printed. The following link is the latest revised version;


Children (Scotland) Act 1995 - latest revised version



Crown copyright material is reproduced here under the Open Government Licence for public sector information.

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