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Charities, Scotland & Holyrood: Twenty Years Delivering Change

Charities, Scotland & Holyrood: Twenty Years Delivering Change

To mark the Scottish Parliament‘s 20th anniversary, the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) has published ‘Charities, Scotland & Holyrood: Twenty Years Delivering Change‘.The limited-edition book highlights 20 voluntary sector campaigns which resulted in legislation designed for the benefit of people in Scotland.

OPFS is given recognition in two of the campaigns: as coordinator, with CPAG, of the Scottish Free School Meals Campaign which the Scottish Government responded to by introducing free school meals for all children in primary one to three in 2015; and contributing to a new social security system in Scotland which aims to have respect for and dignity of individuals at it’s heart, in particular that Scotland would provide community care and crisis grants rather than loans, which actually increases poverty.

View the full book

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Have you a child starting school? You could be due £250

Have you a child starting school? You could be due £250

The Scottish Government has increased the level of financial support available to low income families with children with the launch of its Best Start Grant School Age Payment.

The £250 School Age Payment is made around the time a child normally starts Primary 1 to help with the costs of a child starting school. You can use it for anything from school bags, shoes, a warm coat, after school clubs, books or days out– it is not a loan so does not have to be paid back. (more…)

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Best Start Scotland

Best Start Scotland

Best Start Grant

The Scottish Government has now replaced the Sure Start Maternity grant with Best Start Pregnancy and Baby grant. Qualifying families will receive £600 from 25th week of pregnancy to 6 months after the birth of their first child and £300 on the birth of any following children. (more…)

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Scottish Government Disability Assistance Consultation

Scottish Government Disability Assistance Consultation

OPFS Survey of Single Parents

OPFS is asking single parents about their views on the Disability Assistance consultation to inform our response to the Scottish Government. You can complete as many or as few questions as are relevant to you. This survey closes on 7th June 2019.

Have your say

(more…)

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Carer’s Allowance Supplement Scotland

Carer’s Allowance Supplement Scotland

The Scottish Government is paying a £442 per year supplement to people in receipt of carer’s allowance.

A new benefit to replace carer’s allowance, called Carer’s Assistance, will be introduced which pays the same amount as income support and jobseekers allowance. Until this benefit is available carer’s will receive the supplement to top up their existing carer’s allowance.

If you are receiving carer’s allowance at the moment you do not need to claim the supplement. It will be paid automatically. It is paid in two equal amounts of £221.

This is paid twice a year with the next payment expected in June and December 2019. This money will not affect any other benefit you are receiving.

See Carer’s Allowance Supplement for more information. You can call the Carer’s Allowance Supplement helpline on 0800 182 2222.

New Young Carer Grant

Young carers aged 16-18 in Scotland who do not currently qualify for Carer’s Allowance, may be eligible for a new £300 annual payment to help them. The Young Carer Grant will be paid from autumn 2019. We will update you on this when information becomes available.

Carer’s Support Scotland has useful information for people who are or have recently become a carer.

Call or email the Lone Parent Helpline on 0808 801 0323 if you would like to speak to an adviser. See related advice guides Disability Benefits for Single Parents and Money for Single Parents.

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Calls for urgent delivery of income supplement as local statistics show rising child poverty across Scotland

Calls for urgent delivery of income supplement as local statistics show rising child poverty across Scotland

  • In some Scottish constituencies, more than a third of children are growing up in poverty
  • Local authority data is listed below.

Scottish members of End Child Poverty, the UK’s leading child poverty coalition, are calling on Holyrood Ministers to urgently introduce a cash boost for low-income families in Scotland and for UK government to end the freeze on working age benefits. This comes as new data published today shows that over 30% of children are trapped in poverty in some Scottish Parliament constituencies. At a national level the tide has turned and child poverty is rising, reversing the progress made in reducing child poverty levels across the country. (more…)

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A new Job Grant for young people who face barriers to gaining employment

A new Job Grant for young people who face barriers to gaining employment

A new Job Grant proposed by Scottish Government will provide support to young people with the costs of starting work has been warmly welcomed by OPFS. It will be paid to 16-24-year olds who have been in receipt of a qualifying benefit. OPFS organised workshops to enable young single mothers to give feedback on their experiences of the UK social security system and their views on the new Job Grant. We recommended recognising that there are certain groups of young people who face more considerable barriers and challenges to gaining and sustaining paid work- young single mothers; disabled young people and young care leavers for example.

View the full submission

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Can you get help with childcare costs if you have more than 2 children?

Can you get help with childcare costs if you have more than 2 children?

Yes, you can get help to pay for childcare for all qualifying children even if you only get child tax credit, universal credit and help with housing costs for two.

If you are affected by the ‘2 child limit’ you can still claim for help to pay for childcare for your third or subsequent children.

You can claim from working tax credit, as long as you work an average of 16 hours per week or more, or from universal credit no matter how many hours you work.

Qualifying children are those you are responsible for up to the age of 15, or 16 if you get a disabled child element for them in child tax credit or universal credit. The childcare provider must be registered with the Care Inspectorate.

The amount of help towards childcare costs is affected by your earnings and is capped. The maximum amount you can get is:

Working tax credit

  • 70% of £175 (£122.50) per week for one child
  • 70% of £300 (£210) per week for 2 or more children

Universal credit

  • 85% of £760 (£646.35) per month for one child
  • 85% of £1300 (£1,108.04) per month for 2 or more children

See Benefits for children born after April 2017

See the Money If You Are Working advice guide for more childcare information or call our lone parent helpline on 0808 801 0323.

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New Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment

New Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment

The Early Learning Payment is £250 to help eligible families with the costs when your child is two to three and half.

It’s part of Best Start Grant, a package of three payments to help families in Scotland at key stages in a child’s life.

Parents or cares who get certain benefits or tax credits can apply. And you can still apply even if your child is not taking up a nursery place. (more…)

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Your Parenting Plan

Your Parenting Plan

What is a Parenting Plan?

A ‘Parenting Plan’ is a voluntary agreement between you and your child’s other parent about arrangements for your children.

They can be used by parents who are separating, or who have never lived together as a couple, instead of asking a court to decide.

You can choose what you need to agree on in your Parenting Plan. For example, where your children will live, when you will spend time with your children, who else can look after them or how they’ll spend school holidays and birthdays.

The updated guide has lots of useful information and resources for parents to work through together without the expense of solicitors and legal professionals.

How to make a Parenting Plan

Download guidance on how to make a Parenting Plan.

Make a Parenting Plan

Download our advice guides for information about Separation and Divorce or Contact with your chilrdren 

Call the Lone Parent Helpline on freephone 0808 801 0323 if you need advice.

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Registered as: One Parent Families Scotland, a charitable company limited by guarantee. Registered at Edinburgh under number 094860. Scottish Charity Number SC006403